Tag Archives: Novels

Nano, Full Moons, & the World Series

A week of warnings of full moons in line with Halloween, which I love but my focus has been on the World Series as my KC Royals compete. In the wake of Nano, I’m trying to divide my focus between baseball and my Nano prep. I’m not particularly successful at either. LOL Here’s my Nano work.

Project Title:

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy (I think)

Word Count: This a Nano novel and it sat at 53,000 words and then I began revisions so it sits at 66,000 now.

Story: A boy, a car, an old man, and a dog. Nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

Join me in Nanoland.





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Pace of Revelation

Writing mysteries/thrillers requires a great deal of control. The writer must tightly plot so there are no loose ends, no gaping plot holes, and perfect pacing. While pacing is important to all prose, these genres, especially, require the writer’s astute handling of it.

These genres hinge upon raising questions in the mind of the reader. What has happened? Who is behind it? How bad is it? Will our hero recover? Will he or she find answers? The writer doesn’t want the reader inundated with questions on page one. They’ll feel overwhelmed and give up. Space questions out and allow them to build. As the protagonist moves through his crisis, the reader asks questions. The best pacing allows the reader to experience tension and anxiety but also allows moments of relaxation, time to seek answers without worrying the hero is facing immediate death.

These are not easy things to accomplish, but they are essential. A story that reveals too much too fast falls flat in the last half of the book. A story that reveals too little, loses the reader to confusion early on. The goal must always be to reveal enough to keep the reader reading on, but not too much or the reader is ahead of the plot. Check your story. Are you revealing things at a pace that is good for it? Good for the plot? Good for the characters? If not, do you need to speed up or slow down? Revise accordingly.

Other Articles on Pacing:

Steven Symes


Writer’s Digest

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Introducing Indie Writer Julie Coulter Bellon!

AllFallDownI am thrilled to introduce Julie Coulter Bellon to you. She is an award-winning suspense novelist with enough success for several authors. I read her novel, All Fall Down, which I’ll review Friday. Plus, tomorrow we’ll have a giveaway!! Be here!! Trust me!!! Her blog is her take on life and her writing. In fact sneak over there now and you’ll find an excerpt from her newest project, Pocket Full of Posies. BUT read her interview first to learn more about her. I am a huge fan already. Partly because we have so much in common and partly because she writes for me. Seriously, just for me. Wink, wink. Julie is not only a great writer, she is a super nice lady. Win-win.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to writing? I’ve always loved writing and in the second grade won second place for my essay, Why We Should Respect the Cow. (Because really, cows are awesome!) I submitted my first manuscript to several publishing companies and received rejections from all of them. I was discouraged because my dream was to become a published author and apparently, my writing sucked, judging by the rejections in my hand. So I put my manuscript under my bed and let it gather dust for a year. Then, one of my published author friends encouraged me to dust it off and make the changes that had been suggested. I did, re-submitted, and had three offers for it within two weeks. I felt so dumb for wasting so much time wallowing in self-pity!

What drew you to the genre you write? I’ve always liked romantic suspense. Spies, danger, Navy SEALs, combined with romance? It’s a lethal combination! (See what I did there? Lethal combination?)

 Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? This is going to sound odd, but I have loved Shakespeare ever since I was first introduced to him. That’s partly why I was an English major. The way he manipulates the language, evokes emotion, and presents a compelling story amazes me. I even went to London to see his birthplace, where he proposed to his wife, and the Globe theater. One of the highlights of my life!

 Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published? Oops, see question #1

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre? Because I was traditionally published I had an established fan base when I went indie. That was incredibly helpful, but I’ve tried to grow my readership with Goodreads contests, newsletters, presenting at writing conferences, contests and giveaways on my blog, sneak peeks, blog tours, and I’ll be doing Kindle Matchbook as well. There’s such a great support for indies out there if you know how to find them. I love that about our community.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with? I really loved Rafe and Claire from All Fall Down. They’ve been making cameos in the rest of the series, but I’d love to write another story for them.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? It sounds cliché, but never give up, never surrender. (GalaxyQuest is an awesome show to quote, right?) Don’t waste all the time I did on feeling bad about a rejection. Pick yourself up, make changes or adjustments to the characters, setting, dialogue, writing style, whatever isn’t working, and the right avenue for getting your book in readers’ hands will open up. The only difference between a published author and an unpublished author is that one gave up. I believe that. I’m proof of that!

Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why? Oh, that’s a hard one. Probably Claire from All Fall Down She’s had an interesting life being a hostage negotiator and she has some complicated family around her that would make the dinner conversation lively as well. Plus, if anyone tried to crash the dinner she could kick some butt! Love her.

What project are you working on now? My new novel, Pocket Full of Posies (the third installment of the Hostage Negotiation Team series) is due out in October. I’m so excited for this one and am frantically trying to finish the last of the edits on it. Eek. (I just posted a sneak peek chapter on my blog)

Who is your favorite literary figure? (I’ve had a lifelong crush on Atticus Finch) Mr.Darcy hands down. (And he always looks exactly like Colin Firth when I imagine him. Surprising, right?

You can learn more about her books on Amazon. Ashes2Ashesindie-crediblebanner copy

Check out the other Indie-Credible Authors here or here.

Tomorrow: The big giveaway!!!


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Hook “Em Over and Over Again


When writers gather, the talk always centers on our shared issues. We don’t sit around and talk about the joys of being in the zone or the love of a request from agents or even a personal rejection…well, okay, we do that, too.  However, we home in on what is kicking our butts in our current WIP. What I keep noticing is a common thread: forward momentum or the lack of it. Several blogs I’ve read in the last week have discussed difficulties with a WIP not so much stagnating as moving without really moving forward.

I recommend Hooked by Les Edgerton. I know I talk about this book a lot but honestly, it has taught me a lot. For one thing, I’m well versed in the inciting incident of a story. I teach it to my students, can identify it in a story I’m reading, etc. I knew that it is what hooks your reader pulling them in . What I didn’t think about until I read the book was that each scene has an inciting incident of its own. An incident that will propel the scene and the plot forward, illuminating things for both your protagonist and your reader.

After so many years of reading and writing, it was so simple and I couldn’t believe I’d missed it. Now, when I’m working on a new scene or rewriting a scene that isn’t working, the first thing I ask myself, “What is the inciting event here? What propels this part of the story and my character forward?” In my big picture plotting, this small scene event planning got  completely overlooked.

Exercise: Instead of a traditional outline of your novel, make an outline of the scenes in your book by inciting event. If you’ve done your job well, you should see an acceleration of events building to that perfectly planned denouement. Let me know how it goes. I’m off to try it with my adult mystery. 🙂


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Happy Friday

The ranch

I’m heading back across the great state of Kansas after a marathon dental appointment yesterday. On the trip up, my characters regaled me with details of the new ending of my WIP. I’m excited to see what they want to tell me on the way home. I hope your writing is going well or if it’s rewriting that is hitting its stride. The point being that writing is involved in your day.

Have an amazing weekend.


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First Pages Deadline Extension

Thanks to life complications on my end, I’ve decided to extend the deadline for submissions to February 1. If you haven’t submitted your first page, get it in soon!

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