My Life As It’s Been Since Last December

I looked at my website and blog today and sadly saw what anyone else stopping by would see. I’m out of the writing world. I’m desperately trying to get back, but work demands are horrendous. I have a side bar with conferences, but they are from last year. I will try to update them soon. My blog had nothing newer than a guest who posted in late November. All I’ve been able to do is keep up with my two scheduled posts, Make Mine Mystery (3rd Thursday of every month) and Novel Spaces (the 17th of every month). I took the post below from one I’d put on Novel Spaces in January. This is where I’ve been and still there, not seeing any relief in sight. I hope to get back to the writing world soon.

Taken from my archived Novel Spaces Blogspot post on January 17, 2017:

Stressed to the Point that Writing Seems Impossible    

by Linda Thorne



Okay, I told some people I wouldn’t post about my time constraints with writing and promotion anymore, but here I am with nothing else to talk about except what feels like zero time to write, read, and promote. I am still meeting my deadlines for scheduled posts like this one and it’s not easy.


Che Gilson’s last post on Novel Spaces was perfectly timed for me with her suggestions of a timer and calendars. My problem is I don’t think any recommendations would work given my current circumstances. I’m unusually busy at work. Actually, that is a huge understatement.

I’ve seen just about everything over my long human resources career. I went through a hostile takeover of a company in Denver. A former company I worked for lost its lease, built a new site and quickly doubled in size. The company I worked for on the Mississippi Gulf Coast went through a brutal restructuring. A move to the Central Valley of California took me to a manufacturing plant in business for 98 years, but after working there a year, we were given a year’s notice that the plant would close. Chaos ensued as people bailed when we had to maintain full production up to the date of closure. 

In an effort to seek help, I put my current problem into the Google search engine and came up with a blog post called, 6 Habits to Help You Write When You Don’t Have the Time. The blog is Jeff Goins’, but it was written by a guest he invited, Tyler Braun. Brawn starts off with a quote from Katerina Stoykova Klemer, which says, “If you don’t write when you don’t have time for it, you won’t write when you do have time for it.” 
Okay, I get it, but I think there’s a caveat. Sometimes there may not be enough hours in the day to write, which does not mean you wouldn’t write if you had the time.

In his post, Tyler Braun went on to list the 6 habits that he thought would help.

1. Figure out how many words per day
2. Leave yourself reminders to keep fighting
3. Get enough sleep
4. Always be ready to capture ideas and quotes
5. Never surrender
6. It takes discipline

I think his recommendations are great. I just think that sometimes if you are in an unusually crazy situation, none of the recommendations are going to work. Sometimes those recommendations to pace yourself, write a minimum amount of words, think positive, etc. aren’t going to get you there. I agree the most with number 5, “never surrender,” but my qualification of that phrase here is sometimes you have no choice but to retreat (not the same as surrender) until you find a way out of the situation that is blocking you, or wait until the turmoil is over.

Have any of you experienced life getting so in your face that any type of organized writing plan might not work?  

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An Interview with Michael Paul Michaud

Congratulations, Michael Michaud, on the release of your newest book November 26th. I’ve only just begun to read it, but find it quite interesting. To give our viewers a little more information on this book, I posted the blurb I found online below.

A The Introvertvacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.

Amazon Buy Link: To Book and Kindle

Linda:  Tell us, what inspired you to write The Introvert?
Michael:  I had just finished reading two fairly dark books before I wrote The Introvert. First was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and the second was The Stranger (L’Etranger) by Camus. I was fascinated by the protagonists in those stories, so much so that I wanted to write my own story as homage to those wonderfully off-beat characters. I was taken by the stranger’s dead-pan, simplistic approach to life, and by Raskolnikov’s erratic, absurdist approach to dealing with society, and specifically law enforcement. Anyone who has read those two novels will likely draw parallels. The difference in The Introvert was that I injected a large dose of humor into my story. And it was a surprisingly easy story to write. Whereas, my earlier book, Billy Tabbs, took me the better part of two years to complete. I wrote the first draft of this novella in just under two weeks. It came pouring out very stream of consciousness and very easily (some of my readers have remarked, with a nervous glance, that perhaps it poured out a little too easily). I do tend to write darker, sometimes twisted stories. Stories that may challenge the comfort of the reader. Just as Dostoyevsky and Camus succeeded with me, I hope that The Introvert will accomplish that with others.

Linda:  I have to admit when I first picked up the book, I was thrown off when I got to the dedication page and found, “For the Weirdos.” I wondered what I might be getting myself into until I started reading the book. I’m still curious, though. Why did you choose this dedication?
Michael:  I see a growing trend toward introversion these days. We are under such scrutiny given the proliferation of social media, and I see more and more people shrinking from the spotlight, content to quietly to do their own thing. I’m very much an introvert myself, but have been coaxed into the social media world as a result of the necessity that is book promotion and marketing. But at heart I am very much a loner – a solitary scrivener, as I call myself on my author page. Loners, introverts, the quiet ones, we sometimes take it on the chin for being different, as if our satisfaction with our solitude is a jarring, even threatening condition to some. We can be eccentric. We can enjoy our own company. We can enjoy living life off the beaten path. We can be fiercely loyal to the creative or the esoteric. Many people are likely nodding, sitting quietly behind their monitors, as they read this. My protagonist in The Introvert faces similar scrutiny along these lines. In one scene, he describes how he was teased by some boys for behaving differently:
“I also remember how I’d brought it up to my parents later that night and how they just     told me that in a world where most fifth graders bought licorice or gum or chocolate that if another kid bought honey they might think that’s “a little off” because most people are only   comfortable when everyone is eating and wearing and talking and acting the same as everyone else, but that I should never change who I was just because most people changed the way they were to fit into a pattern.”
So my dedication, far from being pejorative, is actually a salute to those who may identify as being different. I have been called a weirdo myself – usually in jest, but you know what they say about jokes being half-truths. Frankly, I wear the moniker like a badge of honor, and I hope others do, as well.

Linda:  Interesting book cover. It grabbed me right away. It seems simple and, at the same time, complicated. Tells us more.
Michael:  I subscribe to the theory that less is often more. Also, as much skill as I (may) have with the written word, I am conversely unskilled as an artist, so when it came time to design a concept cover, I was limited as to what I could create. This was prior to publication, but I wanted the book to have some sort of concept art that would accompany the manuscript when sent to beta-readers, editors, publishers, etc. Something that would clearly embody the spirit and tone of the story. So I sat down, and about 30 minutes later I’d created the cover image that you see today. Originally it was just intended to be the concept cover, but I posted it online, and several commented on it favorably, including my cousin, Myra, who basically challenged me to go with it as the official cover. I thought about it, suggested it, and my publisher agreed. They just inverted the colors and we were done. I’m thankful that this ended up as the cover because people have been going wild for it. I posted it on Instagram where it garnered nearly 30,000 likes. It seems to have really struck a chord. People relate to it. There have been requests for the introvert and Molly symbol on shirts, hats etc. I couldn’t be prouder of the response. But far from the result of any diabolical marketing masterstroke, it was simply the result of my love for simplicity and my limitations as an artist.

Linda:  Would you tell us what this genre is and the type of readers it would appeal to?
Michael:  It is black humor crime fiction, which is a bit of a genre unto its own. If you could take Crime and Punishment, The Stranger, American Psycho, and The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-time and put them all in a blender, you’d pour out something very close to The Introvert. Some people love it. Others have been shocked by it, because it can move from brutal to hilarity and back again all within the same page. I believe they blend rather nicely, but it may be jarring to some.

Linda:  In closing, do you have another project you’re working on? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Michael:  I am currently putting the final touches on my third book – a coming of age novel titled “Relics.” Relics is a family drama/thriller/mystery. It initially tells the story of nine-year old Sarah Edson and the trials and tribulations of fourth grade life in Portland, Maine (where I grew up), later picking up when Sarah is an adult, working as a journalist at a fictional Boston area newspaper. It speaks to regret, nostalgia, family dysfunction, and how small, seemingly innocuous events from one’s past can return later in life to greater, even nefarious consequence. It is probably my first crack at mainstream fiction. Some will applaud, others may groan. I do believe it is an interesting story to tell, it has just taken some time to spit it out (nearly four years). This is also my first crack at writing a book centered around a female protagonist. I hope that I do her justice. I’m sure my readers will let me know one way or the other.
I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity to take part in this Q&A, as well as all those who took the time to read it. If you enjoyed what you read or have any questions, be sure to stop by http://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud– I’d love to hear from you.

Linda: Thank you Michael for stopping by. I wish I’d gotten to know you in time to have finished reading your book before your visit. I’m well into it now and I’ll post a review on Amazon and Goodreads when I’m finished. This was a very interesting interview and I haven’t heard anyone mention reading Crime and Punishment since my college days, which I have to say was a very long time ago.

ABOUT THE AUTHORMichael Michaud - Copy

An America-Canadian citizen, Michael holds a B.A. in English, Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude), and a J.D. in Law. He is employed as a Crown Prosecutor in the Greater Toronto Area. THE INTROVERT is his second release. His debut novel – BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) – was published in 2014 from Bitingduckpress.

Follow Michael at: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud.

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The Southern Festival of Books October 14 – 16

SFB_5.25.2016_OLI enjoyed this again this year. I mostly hung out at the Middle Tennessee Sisters in Crime tent, which was lots of fun as Sisters in Crime members from other states showed up too. We had Debra Goldstein from Alabama and Kathleen Delaney from Georgia. The picture below is of me featured with my book on Saturday October 15th and the next one is a pic of our local Nashville group closing the tent down on Sunday October 16th. Left to right, me, Tom Wood, Lisa Wysocky, Kay Tyler, Beth (Jaden) Terrell, and Robert (Bob) Mangeot. 14725736_1788474544775709_2604443359717360957_n[2]

Me featured 10-15On Friday October 14th, I was honored to be asked to host author Rick Reed who wrote a true crime novel about a serial killer he caught while a homicide detective and then turned to writing fiction. Here’s Rick with me getting his signature on his book after the session.20161014_144442-1 20161014_154324

Sunday the 16th, I was on an author panel too with author Kelly Oliver and Jaden (Beth) Terrell. What a wonderful event. Here we are at the Auditorium at the Nashville Library.

Panel 10-1610-16 panel

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Titles and How They Came About

Me at Wok meeting

by Marilyn Meredith

Linda and I have both written about the importance of a title and ways to choose one. This time I’m going to concentrate on the titles in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

The first book I wrote in the series, Deadly Trail, was not the first published, so when it was published it was called the prequel – or when Mundania republished it, they called it #0. And of course, there is a most significant trail in it.

Deadly Omen came next and based on an Indian legend—something you’ll see I’ve done often. For a brief moment, I thought about including Deadly in every title. Sure glad I gave up that idea.

Unequally Yoked came from the Bible, and refers to the differences in Tempe’s and her husband’s beliefs.

Intervention refers to a divine intervention.

Another legend about what an owl crossing one’s path means gave the title to Wing Beat.

It’s pretty obvious why I called the next one Calling the Dead.

There are two significant fires in Judgment Fire.

Kindred Spirits refers to Tempe’s relationship with two of the Tolowa characters in the book.

Dispel the Mist introduces the Hairy Man—and the title comes from an Indian quote.

Because a lot of the action is on Bear Creek Indians Reservation land, there are more references to the Hairy Man in the Invisible Path. The title comes from another Indian quote.

Bears invade Bear Creek and create havoc; Bears With Us seemed like an appropriate title.

Raging Water was the obvious title when torrential rain caused Bear Creek to become a raging river.

Another quote provided the perfect title, Spirit Shapes, for a tale about a haunted house and the spirits who live there.

River Spirits came about from a scene near the end of the mystery—and with much of the story being on the reservation again, the Hairy Man once again appears.

In this mystery set over on the coast, Tempe soon realizes much of what is happening is Not as it Seems.

This latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Seldom Traveled, also got its title from a quote – and it refers to several seldom traveled roads and trails in the story.

And that’s how I came up with those titles,

-Marilyn

Seldom Traveled Front Cover

Seldom Traveled Blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Tempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Mundania Press Buy Link: http://mundania.com/book (Directly from the publisher in all different formats).

Amazon Buy Link: Amazon Link

 

New Contest:

Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Tomorrow you’ll find me here: http://amymbennettbooks.blogspot.com/

Marilyn Meredith’s Bio:

Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member of Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety
Writers of America.

http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

http://fictionforyou.com

 

 

 

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My Killer Nashville Panels Friday August 19, 2016

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Click Here for My KN Panelist Badge

Here’s the group from session 5 Building on a Network of Writers, Editors, Agents at Killer Nashville 2016:

Building Network at KN Linda Sands, Tom, Bryan Robinson, Kay Kendall

Left to right. Linda Sands, me, Tom Wood, Bryan Robinson, and Kay Kendall

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I moderated Panel session 7, How to Write Effective Plot Twists. Below, to the right or my picture is Tom Wood, Sharon Potts, Ray Wenck, and Kris Calvin.

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The Black Madonna by Linda Kane – Book Excerpt and Slideshow

linda and Shari

The Black Madonna is a story about a group of people from the 12th century, the Cathars who fought for religious tolerance in Occitan, France.
It’s about a woman who lost all that she loved to find the last words conveyed to Thomas by Jesus Christ and the people who will stop at nothing from preventing her from bringing the words to light.

A Short Excerpt from The Black Madonna

The book had been a gift from her grandparents, but it was likely to get her killed…

Looking up, Luci spotted the monk standing on the third-floor balcony of the Center. He seemed frightened. He turned and looked behind him as if he was listening to someone. Then he faced back toward the railing, made the sign of the cross, and pitched himself forward.

“No!” Luci screamed.

He landed, arms outstretched, on some metal spikes jutting out of the concrete slab. Luci saw that, in his hand, he was still holding the tarot card. It was the card of Justice. Luci began to hyperventilate. She tore herself away from the horrible sight and scanned the crowd, searching for Janet. She couldn’t see her anywhere. The ambulance and fire truck were arriving. Too many people, too much noise. Luci could barely breathe. She saw Janet walking out of the library. Luci grabbed a sack of the birdseed that she always carried to feed the birds on her break. Dumping the seeds out she began to breathe into the paper bag. How could the monk have known about the book, and why had he wanted it enough to die? Her skin went clammy, as she fought for breath.

The paramedics raced over to the monk and immediately pronounced him dead. Someone pointed out Luci to the second paramedic. He saw that she was in distress, raced over to her, and slipped an oxygen mask over her nose. “Breathe,” he said.

She could hear people off in the distance. Someone said, “I think she’s having a heart attack.”

“Don’t go to sleep,” the paramedic said. “Stay with me and keep breathing.

The last thing she heard before the ambulance door closed was Janet’s harsh whisper near her ear. “Don’t think you’re getting out of going to France, Luci.

***Click on the Black Madonna link below for more on the history in the book always in the background behind this modern day mystery:

The Black Madonna

A Little About Linda Kane

Amazon Buy Link

Shop at Publisher Black Opal Books

 

 

 

 

 

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Southern Festival of Books Reveal Party

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This year Humanities of Tennessee held the reveal party for the upcoming Southern Festival of Books at Parnassus Books in Nashville on July 9th. Serenity Gerbman, Director of Literature and Language Programs announces the authors for this year’s Southern Festival of Books with more yet to be added to the list.ATT_1468112775045_20160709_182023_resized

There was a band, wine, beer, lots of food, friends, and a fun time.

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Goldstein and Terrell at Nashville’s Parnassus Books

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Debra H. Goldstein, visiting from Birmingham, AL teamed up with local (Nashville) author, Jaden (Beth) Terrell, today to give quite an enjoyable presentation at Parnassus Books. They ended by signing their most recent books for local readers.
     Debra H. Goldstein was on stage for Should Have Played Poker  Parnassus Buy Link and Jaden Terrell for River of Glass. Parnassus Buy Link

 

Besides being an author, Debra has been a judge, which made for interesting conversation today. Goldstein’s debut novel, Maze in Blue, received a100_3013 2012 Independent Book Publisher Award and was reissued in May 2014 by Harlequin Worldwide Mysteries.  She serves on national and local boards including Sisters in Crime, Alabama Writers Conclave, YWCA of Central Alabama and the Alys Stephens Center and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Forum and Zonta. Goldstein lives in Birmingham, AL, with her husband. Her website is: debrahgoldstein home

Author Jaden Terrell was surfing the Internet in search of ideas for her third crime novel when she came across this sentence: “There are more slaves in the world today than at any other time in human history” and further researched human trafficking for her third book in her private detective series featuring PI Jared McKean. Jaden Terrell is a Shamus Award finalist. The former special education teacher is a Magnolia Award recipient for service to the Southeastern Chapter of 100_3021

Mystery Writers of America and is also the Executive Director of the Killer Nashville Thriller, Mystery, and Crime Literature Conference. She teaches writing workshops. Beth Jaden Terrell’s website is:  http://www.jadenterrell.com/

 

All in all, this was a fun time. The two authors signed books, talked to friends and we all packed our well-loved local Nashville bookstore, Parnassus Books.

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Blogposts and Me

If you’ve dropped by my blog, then hello, I’m glad you did.

My last post here, an author interview with Beth Fine, ended on May 31st leaving me with some free space for a time, so I’ve copied a recent post I published on Make Mine Mystery’s blogspot.

I’m a regular on two blogs right now, Make Mine Mystery and Novel Spaces. You can find me on MMM on the third Thursday of any month. Novel Spaces is a new gig for me. I start in July and will have a post on the 17th of every month. I have followed both these blogs for years and I’m proud to have been accepted as a regular on both.

I’ve been a guest on many other blogs: Buried Under Books (cnc books), Writers Who Kill, Killer Nashville, BK Stevens’ First Two Pages along with a number of stops on other authors’ personal blogs. The only regular monthly blog visits I’ll be making are Make Mine Mystery and Novel Spaces, which is enough right now considering I’m actively working to finish my second book while continuing to work a full-time day job. I also have other needed promotion activities.

Writing takes time like anything else you do in hopes of being successful. Here’s what I copied from my June 16, 2016 post on Make Mine Mystery:

 

About Book Titles

by Linda Thorne

If you follow suggestions for writing book titles, you will be discouraged from writing long titles (more than four or five words). The reasoning, keep them short so they’re easy to remember and easy to post anywhere. I talk about the exception to this, the one-word title, in the next paragraph. After you hear the lecture on size of title, the suggestions go on to include giving your title twists, humor, gusto, anything to find a way to make it memorable and provocative.

When considering short titles, one of the problems with the one-word title is the likelihood of it being duplicated by other people’s books. This is totally legal but many authors don’t want their books competing with a long list of the same title. Another problem is the difficulty of describing your book properly in a single word. Think about how much more defined a book title is when a second word is added. For example:

A couple of two-word titles in Marilyn Meredith’s Tempe Crabtree series are Raging Water and River Spirits. The words Raging and River are meaningless standing alone as would be Water or Spirits. The dual words need each other to make sense and give these titles “oomph.”

The same holds true of the debut novel by S.J. Francis, Shattered Lies. The two strong words, shattered and lies, would not mean much of anything if not coupled together. Either word as a single title would lose all its zest.

I could go on and on: Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Now, having spoken on the negatives of titles too long and one-word titles, does any of this matter in the big scheme of things if you find that perfect title? Take a look at these exceptions to the popular advice:

Long

John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden and Good and Evil.
Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Alan Brady’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

One-Word

Rebecca
Shogun
Jaws
Carrie

I had the idea of writing a book long before I actually knew I’d really write one, so I was one of those people (annoying to some) who would occasionally tell others, “I’d like to write a book and I’d call it, The Termination of Jolene Cromwell. My lead character was a career human resources manager, so terminations were part of her job. This was the book in my head back then, in the years long before I started writing. The title is so, so, and rather plain. No oomph, no action, no underlying statement.

When I did start writing the book, the termination of the character named Jolene Cromwell was no longer the story. It was something that happened in back-story, something that gave motivation to my protagonist. The story starts when a no-call-no-show employee is found shot to death. My protagonist, like me, is a career human resources manager and regardless of how any employee leaves a company, they must be terminated. Then death itself is a type of termination. As writers, we’re told to stay away from the word just, but I thought it worked well in my title because it turns out to be anything but just another termination. The addition of the word, just also eliminates duplication of other book titles. When I Google Just Another Termination, I pull up one book and that’s the one I wrote.

The title of my second book, a work in progress, is A Promotion To Die For. My character gets a promotion that requires her to move to a place where she lived close to twenty-nine years earlier. She was in danger then and her move back puts her in danger again. This title is also a play on words. The promotion is a high paying “dream” job that could easily be referred to as a promotion to die for. In this case, the words could hold to their literal truth as well since someone plans to kill my lead character.

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