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Friday, August 18, 2017

Plot Writers Block


This month we have another fun topic for our group. Thanks Rhobin. When you are stumped on moving a plot line forward, what do you do to reinvigorate your imagination?
So many things flashed through my mind. If I’m into the story and writing a lot, the plot tends to pull me forward, but If I don’t know my characters well enough, or I’m trying to make them behave in a way that they don’t like, I can run into problems.

Knowing that when I’m stumped, I first I take a break, go for a walk or work in the garden. Then before I go to bed at night I think about where I’m stuck and ask for help. If I’m lucky, during the REM sleep and as I wake up I’ll get an answer. If not I go back and spend time with my characters, getting to know them better and how they act in certain situations. I back off, rewrite the last challenging scene and find once I let them act the way ‘they’ want I can usually move the story forward.   What do you do? 
Can’t wait to hear what others do.

Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire 
http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Anne de Gruchy
https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/
Skye Taylor
http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Victoria Chatham
http://www.victoriachatham.com
Marie Laval
http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/
Judith Copek
http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Dr. Bob Rich
http://wp.me/p3Xihq-137
Helena Fairfax
http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Fiona McGier
http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Heather Haven
http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rick McQuiston Talks About Reviews

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Rick McQuiston. Rick will be talking about reviews. He’ll also tell us a little about himself and his writing, and answer some fun questions.
Rick McQuiston is 49-year-old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He’s had nearly 400 publications so far, and written five novels, ten anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors.
Rick is also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School. 
He’s currently working on his sixth novel. 

Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
Rick: I feel that they foster an interest in potential readers that otherwise might pass the book by.
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Rick: I don't actually seek out reviews.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Rick: Never.
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Rick: Only enough to glean some creative changes for their work. Although a little ego stroking never hurts.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Rick: I take it with a grain of salt and try to extract improvements from it if I can. An objective viewpoint always helps.
Beverley: Anything else you’d like to add on the importance of reviews?
Rick: They are a good way to let readers know something about you, which will help them relate to your work.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Rick: Mostly horror, but I also enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Rick: I saw "Jaws" as a kid and realized that I enjoy being scared (although from the safety of my couch).
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Rick: Horror, of course.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Rick: I think all genres are enjoying popularity. Horror usually resides in the back recesses of people's choices, but quality writers such as King, Barker, and Little have brought it to the surface, rivaling others such as romance, mysteries, and westerns.
Self-publishing has been both good and bad. Good because it allows people without the means to display their work, and bad because it allows people without much talent to saturate the market. 
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Rick: Over twenty years now.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Rick: Lovecraft. Although long-winded, I can relate to his characters, settings, and of course, the monsters.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Rick: The same as most writers: working full-time, cleaning the house, paying bills, etc. In short: finding the time.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Rick: A simple idea is the easiest to twist into something macabre. I found that is what gets my imagination rolling: taking something mundane and making it frightening.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Rick: Bad music or a headache.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Rick: Typically, a bowl of whole-grain cereal, lots of fruits and veggies, orange juice, a protein drink, and a cup of hot green tea.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?  
Rick: I like to be comfortable. Sweatpants and a T-shirt do the trick.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Rick: Anywhere I can, although my favorite chair in my living room has helped to spawn its fair share of good ideas.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Rick: Probably Bugs Bunny because he always outsmarts his adversaries
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Rick: Lovecraft. He was a weird one but I'd love to hear the formulative process of his ideas.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Rick: Spend it in my basement. I have everything I need there: my books, computer, music studio, and endless DVDs.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Rick: Currently, I'm putting together research for my next novel, as well as the finishing touches on two anthologies.

Blurb for Eat the World:
In picturesque Mackinac a growing army of rats are beginning to seep into the community of tourists. They seemingly appear out of nowhere, and it is up to ordinary people to gather their courage and battle the hordes.

But there is something more frightening beneath the surface, something that was born from the accumulated depths of Earth's creatures, something that can threaten the entire world.
 

Buy Links:
Publisher’s website:  www.classactbooks.com

You can find Rick at:
Publisher's website: www.classactbooks.com
Author's website: http://many-midnights.webs.com/

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Crime Scene Forensics for Writers and Readers Part 2


I’m continuing on with the workshop on Forensics for Writers. There was so much information ion that workshop and hopefully it might be of interest.
For security the crime scene should be roped off; the larger the area the better.  Establish an area for the media away from the scene.  There should be an inner and an outer primary scene. Keep all personnel out of the scene. Establish a crime scene log of everyone who enters.

Physical evidence – this will be introduced in a trial. It can include testimony. This can change over time, can be affected by memory, perception and the connection to the crime. It can be situational such as weather conditions, temperatures, sounds, smells, and clothing. And it can be actual physical that provides leads, indentifies suspects, proves or disproves alibis and statements, connects or eliminates suspects.  Physical evidence cannot lie.

Apparently in a suicide members of the family may not remember moving a weapon. For example if a gun is found by the victim’s hand, a family member in a state of shock may pick it up and place it on a counter away from the body and may not remember doing it.
Documentation should include photography, note taking and sketching. Note taking should be factual and include a brief narrative, the location, the surrounding area, situational evidence and any evidence collected and location it was found. Sketches should be an accurate rendition of the scene – not artistic. Number the items. For example in a room put squares in front of window, against a wall, etc and number them. Underneath the sketch list numbers and what they represent.

Make sure to photograph the hands for things like blood back spatter and direction of the spatter. Test for GRW before the hands are bagged. Bagging can wash off the GSW residue. And in a stabbing, the stabber usually also gets stabs.

Drug test results - these are average times n the Florida area. Latent prints – fast. Blood alcohol – 1 day. Drug tests (multiple drugs) – 60 days. DNA – 32 weeks to 6 months. Sexual assault – 120 days. Trace evidence (fibres, paints, glass, etc.) – 8 months. 
 
Any comments?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Linda Burson Talks About Reviews and Her New Book


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Linda Burson. Linda will be talking about reviews. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Linda is an author from Connecticut. After years of writing and editing for others, raising a family, and over twenty years of running her own businesses, Linda decided to tackle her first fiction novel entitled Rage, which began as a single book. Eventually, the novel became a trilogy, and finally a much longer series. All the books are a part of The Marcy Series, a romantic suspense series.
There are currently five novels in the series.

Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
Linda: Reviews are most important. Having reviews can make the difference between the success and failure of a book. Many potential readers will peruse the available reviews before they decide to purchase your book.
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Linda: Now, this is a difficult question to answer. If I had a really good answer for it, I’d have more reviews than I do. Some readers don’t even think about writing reviews. They may not realize the importance, or they get side-tracked and just don’t do it. Usually the ones who do reviews on books they read are the avid readers—the ones who read multiple books in a week. I try to request reviews on social media. I request a review from anyone purchasing a book directly from me. I also request those who may have won one of my books from a contest to please do a review. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll get those reviews.
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Linda: No, I do not believe in paying for reviews. I did pay for one years ago at the beginning of my writing career from what I thought was a reputable company that’s well-known. All they did was rehash the plot and didn’t say much of anything else. There was one personal comment made by the particular reviewer that wasn’t beneficial one way or the other for anyone.
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Linda: As many reviews as one can get. The more reviews we acquire, the better chance of having Amazon, in particular, move our books up in the ranks. If someone is interested in your novel and they see there are hundreds of reviews, they tend to take more notice and feel more confident in their purchasing decision.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Linda: There isn’t much I can do. I try to remember that it’s personal opinion and maybe my story just wasn’t for them. It doesn’t mean my novel and/or my writing is bad; it just means that particular person didn’t feel connected to it. Unfortunately, there are some people out there who give bad reviews on purpose. They may have a grudge against an author and decide to do the most harm they can—that’s to rate the author’s story poorly. If we were to take an unfavourable review to heart, we’d never want to publish another novel. I’m not saying it’s easy to read a negative review, but as long as it’s not written in a mean spirited way, but constructively, it’s easier to handle.
Beverley: Anything else you’d like to add on the importance of interviews?
Linda: Just to remind all the readers out there to please write reviews for every book you read. It’s not only helpful to the author, but it’s also helpful to a potential reader.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Linda: I write romance-thriller/suspense and mysteries at this time. That doesn’t mean I may not try my hand at something else in the future.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Linda: I felt the most connection to them. I had storyline ideas already swirling around in my head. It may be because those types of books are my favorite to read.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Linda: Well, I suppose I just answered this in the question above. I mostly like romance, romance-suspense, hysterical romance and mysteries.
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Linda: A lot of the genres I see available now are the futuristic-type writings and other-worldly type books which I think goes into the sci-fi category. The advent of the dystopian trilogy that became a big hit geared many in that direction. There are numerous fantasies also being written which I think is attributed to the success of the Harry-Potter phenomena, and after Fifty Shades of Grey, there are many more erotica/BDSM books being written. The biggest affect is there are more and more available in all these genres because of self-publishing, whereas before, we had to wait for a large publishing house to accept a novel for release—now, every and any book can be made available to the public. Sometimes, this is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because there are many talented authors out there that are getting noticed that didn’t have the opportunity in the past. The bad part is “anyone” can self-published and that means even those that shouldn’t be writing can publish a book which makes it harder for those who have a good story to make it known. These good stories and talented authors can get lost in the maze of books that are being promoted. I think if anyone could determine where certain genres might be headed, we may all have a best-seller because then wouldn’t we all try to write it?
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Linda: Most of my life, but I didn’t write to publish until four years ago.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Linda: I’ve been thinking about this for a while and the answer may be my maternal grandfather. He always asked me to write his life story. He probably asked me this numerous times a year. That may be when I thought I could do it especially since English and spelling was always my favorite subject in school.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Linda: When I decided to actually sit down and begin writing full-time over four years ago, fortunately, there were no obstacles.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Linda: My quiet time and long drives out in the country.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Linda: Distractions – noises, people talking and the television. I prefer peace and quiet.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Linda: I always have a protein of some kind and berries or fresh fruit.  Sometimes I’ll have oatmeal with walnuts as well if I’m really hungry.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?  
Linda: If I know I don’t have to go out anywhere during that day, I’ll usually wear comfortably pants, such as sweatpants in the winter with a sweatshirt, or shorts in the summer with a tank or tee shirt.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Linda: Generally, I write at the kitchen island. There have been times I’ve situated myself on the couch in the family room with an adjustable table. One day, I’d like to fix up a specific room just for me where I have everything I need in one place, and have a large desk with a perfect chair for sitting for long periods of time.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Linda: No, not really. I may have as a child, but I do not anymore.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Linda: I’ve been asked this question a few times in the past. I believe I even answered it by naming someone, though I cannot remember who. So, if I were to choose one now, I’d have to say Jane Austin. I’m curious why she chose to become a writer. I’d like to ask her where her inspiration came from and if she ever thought her books would become as popular and classic as they are now. I’d even like to ask her some of these questions I’ve been asked.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Linda: It depends on the weather. At this time of the year, I love to put the top down on the convertible and take a drive on two lane road out in the country—maybe found a spot to have lunch or browse a store I never get the opportunity to visit.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Linda: My sixth book in my MARCY SERIES is due out in a couple of weeks and I’ve been collaborating with the book cover artist for my cover and choosing a tag line for the cover. I’m also writing a novella and hoping to find two other authors who would like to join me in putting our stories together for a new novel. I finished a murder mystery that I’ve been working on for the last year that I hope to be presenting to my publisher soon.

Blurb for The Colors of My Life:

When Caylie Lyon finds herself taken hostage during a bank robbery, a scary situation ends up with her forming a close relationship with Cole, one of the robbers. When the five criminals are caught during another robbery, Caylie returns to a different life from the one she left because of Cole.

Eventually, Caylie reunites with Cole when he is released from prison who is set on revenge against the company he worked for since they were the reason he turned to robbery. They destroyed his construction business and murdered his only brother. When the owners of the company find out Cole’s plan, Caylie seems to find herself in danger.


Buy Link:                                                                                             Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Colors-My-Life-Linda-Burson-ebook/dp/B071Z6833Q/
Paperback available exclusively from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/cat-romance/the-colors-of-my-life-7982017-05-12-21-48-13-detail

You can find Linda at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lbursonbooks/?fref=ts
Instagram:  www.instagram.com/lindajeanburson
Website is lindaburson.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2258525.Linda_Burson
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Burson/e/B016SOB3S4
Twitter: @lindaburson23

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crime Scene Forensics for Writers and Readers


The next workshop I attended was Crime Scene for Writers – Death Scene Investigations, presented by a Florida forensic consultant. To start she explained the difference between a medical examiner (ME) and a coroner. A medical examiner is a medical doctor. It’s an appointed position.  They perform autopsies and sign the death certificates. 
A coroner does not have to be a medical doctor. He is an elected official. (The presenter didn’t say anything, but as a writer I’m wondering if this would make him, or her, more open to political pressure – just a thought).  The coroner is responsible for identifying the body, notifying the next of kin and collecting and returning personal belongings on the body to the family of the deceased.

If the death is suspicious the ME /coroner can order an autopsy without the consent of the next of kin.

The individuals on a crime scene are the patrol officer, the EMT’s, firefighters, detectives or investigators, and hecklers. You may also get the Brass (depending on the visibility of the case), the media and helpful neighbors and friends – and the crime scene analyst.

The detectives’ interview, arrest, gets warrants and do surveillance. They have a BA in criminal justice or similar; no scientific training. They have taken the
police academy training and training to handle an arrest.

The crime scene analyst or investigator (CSI) has a BSc in science, analytical skills and training in forensics. They don’t have guns or make arrests.  They document, preserve, collect and submit evidence to the lab. They do not interview, prove guilt or chase subjects.

The ‘manner ‘of a death can be; homicide, suicide, accidental, natural or undetermined. The cause of the death can be gunshot, stabbing, blunt force, heart-attack, etc.
At the scene you need to decide if the death was a homicide. Things to consider:

- signs of a struggle
- attempt to conceal the crime scene
- attempt to clean up the crime scene
- does it look staged
- signs of a robbery
- sexually motivated
- motive
- did subject know victim
- ? weapon
- is it the primary crime scene
- did the victim see it coming
- organized or disorganized

The pictures we saw were great and showed how a person could misinterpret a crime scene

The consultant said when she arrived at a crime scene the police always wanted to use luminal.
Yes, it allows you so seen the blood and the spatter – but it also dilutes the blood, so if you need to test it – the results may not be accurate. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

JL Regan Talks About Reviews


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Joan Ramirez who writes as J.L. Regan. Joan will be talking about reviews. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real life story of lovers who join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught special education and English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books.

Beverley: How important are reviews for your book?
Joan: Reviews are important because they give me an idea of what to take out or put in for next novel.
Beverley: How do you get reviews?
Joan: I get reviews by posting my novel to book-related sites and doing as much live promo as I can
Beverley: Do you pay for reviews?
Joan: I do not pay for reviews
Beverley: How many reviews does an author need? Why?
Joan: An author needs good reviews --as many as possible. They build motivation.
Beverley: If you get a bad review, how do you handle it?
Joan:  I would hope not to get many bad reviews
Beverley: Anything else you’d like to add on the importance of interviews?
Joan: Interviews tell readers about my book
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Joan: I prefer romantic suspense
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Joan: I've always wanted to write a romance and this was partly based on a true story
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Joan: I enjoy suspense and historical
Beverley: I’d love to hear what you think of the present genres, how they’ve been affected by self-publishing and where you think they might be headed.
Joan: I think genres are an acquired taste and self-published books are growing rapidly
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Joan: I have been writing since I'm 12 when I submitted my first published piece
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Joan: My Mom influenced me most
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Joan: Obstacles--learning the genre, of course
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Joan: I get my creative juices flowing every morning but kids I teach motivate me re children's books, which I'm now getting into more and more
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Joan: Nothing stops my creative muse
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Joan: I eat tea, toast, and cheese
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Joan: I write from my home
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Joan: Yes, Betty Boop. She's cool
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Joan: I would loved to have met Eleanor Roosevelt. My hero
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Joan: When I have free time, I write and scout out ideas for books
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Joan: I'm working on my first romantic suspense and my first historical suspense
Blurb for Secret Desires:
Margo Simmons is ecstatic when she inherits her uncle’s Manhattan apartment and a handsome sum of money. To her chagrin, there are strings attached. She must be gainfully employed in a job for a year. Everything in Margo’s life has complications. When she meets the man of her dreams, she anguishes over how to fulfill her secret desires for a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife and afraid to open his heart again. To replace her fractured childhood growing up with a distant stepfather, Margo becomes the guardian of an elementary student who longs for connection and closeness. As the story evolves, readers will see how these individuals unite. Secret Desires is written from the heart and speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.

Buy Link: For order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble (E-book format. ISBN:97809984099-0-0)

You can find Joan at:
Website: Joansbookshelf.com
And Writerjr1044@gmail.com

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview on Reviews.