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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks: Judy Penz Sheluk

This week author Judy Penz Sheluk joins us with her tip on writing. Judy’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.
Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Tips On Writing
Make time to write every day. The writing muscle is like any other muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
If you exercise regularly, you know the truth of this statement. Exercise regularly and you start to feel better. Stronger. Suddenly, you’re making better food choices. You’re parking as far away from the mall entrance as you can, instead of circling around the wheelchair accessible parking, looking for a spot right next to it. You’re in control and proud of it.
You also know that a couple of days off can lead to a week off, which can lead to a month off…and before you know it, you’re sitting on the couch, eating junk food, watching reality TV, and feeling sorry for yourself. What the heck happened to that buff-body-in-progress?
The same thing can happen with writing. As long as you’re writing every day—even if it’s just for thirty minutes—you’ve got a work-in-progress. Maybe it isn’t perfect, maybe it’s not even very good…but as every day goes by, it gets better, easier. It becomes something to look forward to, instead of something to avoid. It becomes part of your daily routine.
You don’t have to start big. Even marathon runners start with that first mile and gradually add more distance every week. Writing is no different. Think of it as a word marathon and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!


Judy’s latest release is Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in the Marketville Mysteries:
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?


Excerpt
Leith Hampton placed the will in front of him, smoothing an invisible crease with a well-manicured hand, the nails showing evidence of a vigorous buffing. I wondered what kind of man went in for a mani-pedi—I was surmising on the pedi—and decided it was the kind of man who billed his services out for five hundred dollars an hour.
He cleared his throat and stared at me with those intense blue eyes. “Are you sure you’re ready, Calamity? I know how close you were to your father.”
I flinched at the Calamity. Folks called me Callie or they didn’t call me at all. Only my dad had been allowed to call me Calamity, and even then only when he was seriously annoyed with me, and never in public. It was a deal we’d made back in elementary school. Kids can be cruel enough without the added incentive of a name like Calamity.
As for being ready, I’d been ready for the past ninety-plus minutes. I’d been ready since I first got the call telling me my father had been involved in an unfortunate occupational accident. That’s how the detached voice on the other end of the phone had put it. An unfortunate occupational accident.
I knew at some point I’d have to face the fact that my dad wasn’t coming back, that we’d never again argue over politics or share a laugh while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Knew that one day I’d sit down and have a good long cry, but right now wasn’t the time, and this certainly wasn’t the place. I’d long ago learned to store my feelings into carefully constructed compartments. I leveled Leith with a dry-eyed stare and nodded.
“I’m ready.”

Find Judy on her website/blog at www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.
Find Skeletons in the Attic: http://www.imajinbooks.com/skeletons-in-the-attic


Thanks Judy for dropping by and sharing that great writing tip.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sold!


We've sold. I can't believe it. The conditions come off tomorrow
Thank you everyone for your comments on selling. Loved them all and it helps to know how any people have similar problems. My husband says we will never sell again.
So now we're off to find and buy a new house.
We're going to Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Hopefully finding one won't be as stressful as selling.
I'll let you know how it goes.

And hopefully I'll now be able to get back to posting regularly.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Selling a House


I didn’t post yesterday, sorry. We’re in the process of selling out house and I’m finding it very stressful. Have you sold a house lately?
We’ve been sorting, shredding, donating and packing. Finally we got a real estate agent, who I think is good, and we listed the house. Now it’s staging and keeping it looking like no one lives here. It’s really stressful, for all of us, including my two older dogs. They have no idea what’s going on.  And we have to be ready to leave the house at any time. Our agent tries to give us twenty-four hours notice, but Monday we got two and a half hours notice. And then Tuesday they made a ridiculously low offer with and wanted us to sit and wait until he put his house up for sale and sold it in September. Plus we weren’t supposed to talk to anyone about it – we weren’t supposed to say we have an offer and what the offer was. We rejected it.  And we had six hours notice for the next showing. It was last night, Tuesday night during the dinner hour.  
Apparently it went well because they’ve requested a second showing tonight, again during the dinner hour. We’re eating out more.

I’m also trying to get the first one hundred pages of my WIP and a synopsis to an agent by this weekend – due date – no extensions.

Anyway that’s my excuse for not blogging.  Anyone have selling experience they want to share?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Editor and Agent Appointments


I've been posting on workshops I attended at the RWA National conference. Besides the workshops and free books, one of the reason people attend the conference is the agent and editor appointments.
I've noticed that the appointments don't fill up quite as quickly as they used to. I'm guessing it's because there are a lot more independent, self-published authors who don't want to have to fit in a box. Or they don't want to wait six or eight months before they get a response from a query and then the wait if they submit and finally another wait until it get's published.
But many writers do make appointments, or sit in the waiting room hoping for cancellations.
I made an agent appointment this year. I haven't for a couple of years, but with trying to sell the house, computer issues, working outside in the yard to make it look not too bad, I haven't been getting a lot of writing accomplished.
I thought if I talked to an agent it might give me that kick in the butt I need,  And you need to watch what you asked for. She wants 100 pages, synopsis and a summary of our interview in 30 days. I'm writing/editing almost every day now, but still have about 25 pages to go and that darn synopsis.
So what about you?
Do you attend conferences or workshops? Do you take agent or editor appointments?
And if you do, what are you looking for? Do they ask for a proposal? Do you send it to them?
I'm looking forward to your responses.
 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Blogging on the SEALS

I mention about a week ago, the my chapter, Kiss of Death (KOD had great workshops. The first was a retired Navy Seal and his wife. so we got two perspectives. With the Seals  it's "The Team", the team camaraderie, doing everything together. They have absolute commitment to themselves., They have no ego, their physically fit, dedicated, loyal and courageous.
Elizabeth May, an author, writing as Anne Elizabeth, and wife of a Seal said a Seal cannot go more than a few days without being outside and exercising. The mate of an alpha Seal needs to be independent, provide mental stimulation, be open-minded, enjoy sports and have strong communication skills. They must be teammates.
At the end of the presentation one of the audience past on a message from a Seal friend of hers.
"Bravo Zulu" which means job well done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blogging About DEA

Last week I talked about the RWA Conference in San Diego and the awesome retired Seal, and the female DEA agent. It makes me want to start writing a Seal book. I do think I might inject a DEA agent in my present WIP - Death Southern Style.
All DEA agents are called Special Agents. They always carry their gun.  Depending on the size of the office you have Teams - which include DEA plus others (secretaries, local police officers, etc.). The Teams report to a Supervisor. Above him is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (Usually of 5- 10 teams); the Chief of Operations, the Deputy Administrator, Administrator, and finally the Attorney General. Qualifications for a DEA agent include a four year degree in anything. You must be the thirty-seven years old or younger and possess a valid drivers license. If you're looking for a realistic TV show, Breaking Bad is recommended. Also The Wire.

Anybody out there writing books with DEA Special Agents?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

What Makes A Novel Memorable

And it's group blog time. I love hearing what other authors have to say about a similar topic. Today's topic is What Makes a Novel Memorable?
There have been so many good books over the years. The first thing that comes to mind is that they are memorable. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel  Garcia Marquez; The Lord of the Rings; 1984 by George Orwell; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

I've read theses books, not for a long time now, but I still remember them. The characters seeped into your soul and stayed there, suddenly emerging when you remember a particular scene. The setting put you right into the story. You were there - in the jungle, or in the future or back in the nineteenth century. The plot was gripping. Dialogue worked for the story and the theme. It moved you through the story. And you had to keep turning the pages. The ending stayed with you, whether it was a HEA or the shock of finding yourself right back where you started.

I think all theses things combined, and woven together almost invisibly make a good, even great novel.
And yes there are good novels today. I just finished one by Loreth Anne White,- In the Waning Light, where she kept me turning the pages and left an imprint on my memory.
Now off to see what the rest of the group has to say.
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Dr. Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-I4
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com