Category Archives: Writing Advice
For those of you who are living nearby in Solingen, Germany, I’m teaching another workshop at the VHS.
When: November 16 from 4 – 5:30 pm and November 17 from 10 am – 2:30 pm
Where: VHS Solingen, Mummstr.
What: How to write a first chapter that readers won’t put down
Writing a novel is difficult enough, writing a strong first sentence, paragraph, page and chapter often determines whether your story makes it into the hands of an agent and/or will be purchased by a reader. This workshop will teach participants on how to what to look for and how to develop a strong beginning.
I hope to see you there!
Whenever a year ends and a new one begins, we tend to look back to what’s happened as well as look ahead. It’s as if we have this need to analyze and review the past to help us determine how to make the future better. Maybe learn something from our experience. Maybe help us cope. Because hope is a powerful emotion.
Andy knew school would be a drag. He just never expected evil to lurk in its corridors.
When a heinous crime is committed behind the secretive walls of a boarding school and Andy Olson decides to investigate, he’s drawn into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest level, forcing him to choose between exposing the truth and protecting himself.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had a pretty tumultuous year because of the election. And while I don’t want to make this a political post, I can say that the hostile climate in the country really zapped my creative energy. I found myself reading posts and articles, get angry, get sad and do it all over again the next day. All that emotion made it difficult to function as a writer.
Two Books Released in 2016
Thankfully, much of the turmoil didn’t happen until later in the year, so with the help of my publisher, Lodestone Books in the U.K., I was able to get my second book in the ESCAPE FROM THE PAST trilogy, THE KID, published in February. Then in December, the last book in the trilogy, AT WITCHES’ END was released. It amazes me to look back at a visit of an old ruin in May 2012 and after four and a half years have an entire trilogy completed and out there in the world. It’s a pretty cool feeling that is hard to describe.
I also began sharing my fiction writing knowledge, I’ve been accumulating since the late 1990s, with other writers through workshops. I taught classes at the library, did some workshops at high schools and will begin teaching at Ivy Tech later this month. I was also accepted as a presenter at the Historical Novel Society National Conference, a cool project I very much look forward to.
Two more manuscripts have been completed. One is currently at an editor, the other is being shopped with literary agents. My new project for the year is a story set during prohibition. This time I’m using a female protagonist, slightly older, and with a hefty dose of romance. Yes, sex is in it too. I don’t know if it’ll be enough romance to fall into the “Historical Romance” genre, but I’m trying things out.
I also accepted a German to English translation project for a murder mystery party book which has been a blast. I’m always amazed how my brain figures out how to word things in English. It feels like I’ve got this giant computer on my shoulders. You throw German sentences in and get English ones coming out. Cool!
Looking Ahead to 2017
New stuff for 2017 includes trips to Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and Chicago because my new story takes place there. I’ll be teaching workshops, attending author fairs and conferences, book clubs and bookstores. Of course, I’ll be reading and writing up a storm.
My dog, Mocha, is getting old, her little face is all gray and she’s having trouble climbing stairs. So, I’m trying to brace myself for her departure to the happy hunting grounds. I don’t know what else the year has in store for me and my family, but I’m prepared to face whatever is coming head on.
And finally I’m grateful for so many things. I sometimes pinch myself that I’m able to write fulltime without having to work a job someplace. I’m grateful for my loving family and friends, and I’m humbled to have readers who choose to read my books. It’s such an honor.
In closing I want to wish you a peaceful New Year that brings you success and happiness. And while hope is good and often keeps us going, maybe you’ll try something new this year, something daring and different. Maybe you’ll go after your dream. Keep hope in your heart, but also take action and make it real. Remember, it’s never too late.
Sending you peace and kindness,
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