Day One: Welcoming Our Guide Dog In Training

Farley here.

I know it’s not Friday, but I’m excited to introduce you to Jan. She’s a golden retriever in the BC & Alberta Guide Dog Program. I’ll be training her for the next 14 to 18 months.  Kristina thinks she’s doing the training but it’s really me.

As you can see, I’m taking good care of her.

I miss Kinta, our last guide dog in puppy training. She’s  moved on to advanced training and is doing well.

Woof woof..

Advertisements

New Release: The Goddaughter Does Vegas by Melodie Campbell

Funny Girl, Melodie Campbell, has a new book out in the Goddaughter series. Do you need a belly laugh? Answer yes? Then The Goddaughter Does Vegas is for you!

The Goddaughter Does Vegas

Gina Gallo is a mob goddaughter who doesn’t want to be one. She’s left her loopy family behind to elope with Pete to Vegas. Except that eloping may be a mortal sin in an Italian family. Between that and some weird deliveries and suitors, Gina’s nerves are frayed. Vegas is full of great acts, but one impersonation is real: Gina has a crime-committing double whose activities are making Gina front-page news. Gina has to track down this fiendish fraud before the police catch up with her. And, of course, cousin Nico is along for the ride.

Another madcap adventure for the loveable Gallo cousins that proves the rule “Why should things go right when they can go wrong?” Buy Now: https://amzn.to/2sZ7YOL

 

About Melodie Campbell

2015 author photo correctedThe Toronto Sun called her Canada’s “Queen of Comedy.” Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich. Melodie Campbell has won the Derringer, the Arthur Ellis Award, and eight more awards for crime fiction. Last year, Melodie made the Top 50 Amazon Bestseller list, sandwiched between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts. She is the past Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her 13th book, The B-Team, launches this week. It’s in first person.

Creating a Strong Story by Rebecca Monterusso – Certified Story Grid Editor

I’m thrilled to host Rebecca Montrusso, a Story Grid certified developmental editor, as a guest. Rebecca is sharing her expertise on how you can become your own story editor.

Creating a Strong Story

(Before you call in an editor)

by Rebecca Monterusso

I am a developmental editor. Meaning, I help people learn to tell their stories better by focusing on the fundamentals (read: story craft and structure). I like to say that I help people write masterfully, read actively, and live intentionally because I believe they are all necessary to live as a creative person. I also teach people how to practice in the right ways to be the writer they’ve always wanted to be (see my latest post), but that’s beside the point in this case.

What’s most important is that I study how to write effectively, do so myself, and use those skills to help other people improve their work.

That said, it might be surprising when I tell you (beg you, perhaps) to become your own editor. And I mean before calling in someone like me to take a look at your work.

Wouldn’t it make sense for me to tell you I can fix any story no matter how rough? Shouldn’t I have you send me even the most cursory drafts so that I can earn a comfortable living? Perhaps, but that’s not how I run my business.

There are a number of reasons you should write and edit your own story before hiring an editor. 


First and foremost, I don’t want to take your money if I can’t help you make significant changes that will bring your workable draft closer to being finished.


Lying about how good or bad your novel is to make you feel better won’t make you a better writer and won’t allow me to do my job effectively. A draft that is so rough I can’t even begin to improve it (meaning, it lacks structure, consistency, movement, active characters, etc), isn’t something I feel good about taking on. I want to feel like I’ve made a difference in the work of the authors I help and I can’t do that if I can’t actually help. Save your money.

When you become your own editor, you learn, improve, and remember that knowledge for your future drafts.

I’m not saying you’re going to be able to write a perfect draft that will require no edits. But, your first drafts will (probably) require fewer and fewer edits the more you improve your craft. That’s because you’ll know where your novel is going and be more likely to get it there when you understand what your audience expects. Do the work now and you’ll be able to grow that much more when telling future stories.

Other writers self-edit themselves.

Not that I’m telling you to do something just because others do it. But, think of the most prolific authors, the most well-told stories. Chances are, those authors learned how to improve their own work before sending it to someone else. Compare that to the masses of people who write a novel in a month (or any designated amount of time) and send it off to an agent without even reading it through themselves. If you’re going to copy any sort of strategy, the one that gets authors published and out of the slush pile should be adopted.

Your next drafts will be better.

As you learn to critique your own work in an honest way (not too gentle or harsh), the future drafts of that story that you produce will become better and better. This is because of brain science and the fact that knowledge is cumulative. Taking time to study and you’ll gain more and more knowledge along that way that will enable you to challenge your initial ideas and build upon them to create unique stories.

You’ll better appreciate the books you read.

Learning how to write well and understanding the mechanics that make a story work will change the way you read. Reading stories and analyzing them will improve your writing, just as improving your understanding of the craft of writing will improve your understanding of the books you read.

All that aside, how do you improve your story before sending it to an editor?

Showing your work is a necessary step. Feedback is irreplaceable. That said, you could find an editor or coach who works with beginning writers (which might seem counter-intuitive, but there are people specifically interested in that). Or, use beta-readers or family members who read a lot and might be able to help. (Though I don’t recommend that route because they could do more harm than good, it is an option if you trust the people you send your work to.)


You could study every craft book you can get your hands on. The Story GridStory GeniusStory, Story Engineering, to name a few. Take the time to peruse websites like www.thecreativepenn.comwww.janefriedman.comwww.storygrid.com, etc. Listen to podcasts. Figure out and act on the habits of successful writers like Steven Pressfield, Stephen King, etc. Plenty of writers outline their learning methods in books for you to find. Or, you could attend events like Robert McKee’s Story Seminar or take Masterclasses by Margaret Atwood or Dan Brown.

Finally, you can use the tool at your fingertips and subscribe to Fictionary. Not only will you have access to the computational analysis, but you’ll get emails on craft to continue to teach you. Using this tool will enable you to take learning into your own hands. You’ll see your novel laid out in many different forms and learn what that means for what you’ve crafted. Then, you can act on that analysis and keep working to improve what you’ve learned. Though that doesn’t replace hiring an editor, it is a great first step to improve your first drafts immensely.

Rebecca Monterusso

Rebecca Monterusso is a Story Grid Certified Developmental Editor, which is a fancy way to say that she helps writers learn to tell their stories better by focusing on writing, reading, living, and practicing with intention.

She spends her time traveling the world, writing whatever takes her fancy, and deconstructing the many stories she reads on her blog to better understand the craft of writing. Ultimately, she believes that stories are the only way to change the world, which makes writers mighty powerful people.

Rebecca Monterusso Workbooks

If you’re looking for a method to get that book started and written well, Rebecca has a couple of workbooks that will help you.

Practice to Improve Your Writing workbook will help you learn by doing, by actually writing. It will help you practice in the right ways so that you improve, turn writing into a habit, and story stories you want to emulate. Use it to take actionable steps towards your goals.

Write A Story in 7 Days walks writers through the steps they need to take to come up with a fully-formed story that works. It helps them get words on the page and continue to improve their understanding of craft as they learn.

Ghost Writer: Another fabulous read!

As we continue on our journey through the wonderful mystery novels published by Imajin Books, the sale continues. Today, Alison Bruce is here to share a story that gives us insight into her and her characters…

Ghost Writer is on sale for $1.99.

Are all writers Stubborn?

By Alison Bruce

2013-Bruce-author-400My life isn’t so much an open book as a Columbo episode. 

Columbo, an American mystery series starring Peter Falk as the eponymous homicide detective, always started with the murder. The mystery wasn’t a whodunit; it was all about Columbo working it out, gathering the clues and getting a confession. Not that my life adventures required many confessions. But I’ve always been fascinated why things happen and why people do things…including myself. 

Once I decided to take a different route home from school. There was an apartment building at the end of my street.  That is, there was an entrance to the apartment building’s parking lot. I reasoned that the front of the building must be on Kingston Road, which was the road I walked along to get to my high school. If that was the case, I should be able to cut through the parking lot to get home.

This wasn’t a shortcut, by way. I had to go past the street that most directly led home. I was also wrong about the building. Another apartment building fronted Kingston Road. The one I knew backed onto it. The parking lots could have been connected, if someone hadn’t put an eight foot link fence in between.

A reasonable person would have backtracked. A more athletic person would have had no problem scaling the fence. I was neither athletic nor reasonable, but I was stubborn. I managed to climb the fence but just barely made it over. I left a swatch of denim and a chunk of my skin behind.

I do my best to make my protagonists different from each other. They have different family situations, different professions, different skill sets, different tastes (coffee excepted). However, I think all of them have the similar dumb episode in their past. Like me, they hate backing down.

GHOST WRITER

By Alison Bruce

Bruce-GhostWriter-400She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.

But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a child, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore. 

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don’t want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

http://getbook.at/GhostWriterAB

Alison writes novels that combine mystery, well-researched backgrounds, a touch of romance and lots of coffee. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Website: www.alisonbruce.ca 

Twitter: @alisonebruce 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books 

Pinterest: pinterest.com/alisonebruce  

Amazon Author Page: http://viewauthor.at/AlisonBruce 

Ties Up With Strings – On Sale!

The Imajin Books  Sale just keeps on giving. Today, Madeline McEwen is here with a funny story. What she doesn’t know is that the secret skill she’s sharing is one my husband also has. And Mathew used the skill to make the girls laugh – in grade 3! Can you guess what it is…

So listen carefully… Then check out Tide Up With Strings.  On sale for $0.99!

It’s All About the Ears

by Madeline McEwen.

author headshotKristina suggested we share a nugget of information with readers—something not generally known. However, my life is an open book or rather, an ancient Kindle without the software updates—as useful as a tablet of stone. Hence, I decided to go old school and announce I’m the only person I know who can wiggle their ears.

Ear wiggling is a vestigiality—a remnant of human development—like the coccyx, appendix, and wisdom teeth. I like to think this means that at one time in human history, everyone one of us could wiggle our ears—we were the norm and signaled emotions as simply as we do with our lips, smiling or pouting.

Now, we’re an anomaly as most people have lost the art and ability to greet and communicate with one another with a quick ear wiggle.

Sadly, this genetic trait, if not mutation, wasn’t inherited by any of my four offspring. I am the end of the line, the dodo, doomed to extinction.

TIED UP WITH STINGS

HiResCoverTUWS-1TIED UP WITH STRINGS, currently on sale for 99 cents

http://getbook.at/TiedUpwStrings

When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?

As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched rooves or behind floral chintz curtains?

Check out this very cool video about Tied Up With Strings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP1OedSNmSk

And let’s end with something funny.

CWCtwotiered

Children Of The Fog – Get ready for a thrilling ride!

It’s Farley’s Friday, and Farley is so excited about Children of the Fog being on sale for only $1.99 he asked me to use his blogging time to share this with you.

This is a special treat. Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the CEO of Imajin books, supporter of writers, publisher extraordinaire, dog lover (why Farley loves her), and instigator of the Imajin Books holiday sale.

Imajin Logo

I’ll be show-casing the books that are on sale, so you can enjoy them over the holidays. I’ve personally read all of them and love them.

 

But first, we get “Confession from the Author”…

by Cheryl Kaye Tardif.
As a writer, I find I am always thinking of or exploring the “what ifs,” and sometimes it carries over into real life. When my daughter was born, I was terrified that something would happen to her. Since I’d lost my son the year before, her safety was of utmost importance. I’d sometimes watch her breathing at night, just to make sure she was breathing.
The first 10 years I fought being an overprotective mother. But the one thought that scared me most was the thought of my daughter being abducted. What would I do? How would I fight back? I’m not physically strong. I’ve never been a physical fighter. What if I were incapacitated and had to watch someone take my daughter and disappear into the night?
That’s how CHILDREN OF THE FOG was born…out of my fear and my determination that I’d do whatever it took to get her back. I’d fight, negotiate, go after the abductor–because no one was going to take my daughter from yet.
My daughter is married now–to a police officer. True story!
Children of the Fog 2018 Cover

* International & National Bestseller (200,000+ copies sold worldwide)

 

YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO MAKE A DECISION: Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die. Choose!

 

Sadie O’Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control. After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor, she nearly goes insane. It isn’t just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It’s the guilt. Sadie is the only person who knows what the kidnapper looks like. And she can’t tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in “little bloody pieces.”

 

When Sadie’s unfaithful husband stumbles across her drawing of the kidnapper, he sets into play a series of horrific events that sends her hurtling over the edge. Sadie’s descent into alcoholism leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son–a man known only as…The Fog.

CHILDREN OF THE FOG is on sale at Amazon: http://getBook.at/COF2018

#psychological #thriller #horror #suspense #alcoholism #PTSD #abduction #kidnapping #awardwinner #bestseller #99cents #amazon #kobo #itunes #googleplay #supernatural #amotherslove #Canadiansetting #goodreadsauthor #dreamBIG

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder

It’s an exciting month to find new books to read. This December, my fabulous publisher, Imajin Books is having a sale.

I thought it would be fun to share the books with you, so you can buy yourself a present or give the gift of reading to friends or family. I’ve read everyone of these books, and they rock.

Who doesn’t want to read about Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder? That’s sound fun, right? Ok, maybe not the mayhem and murder…

To keep with the fun theme, I’ve asked the authors to tell me something fun about themselves.  You’ll find that below.

Dec 2018 saleFirst up is author, Mary Cunningham.

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery # 1

Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work! But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas. 

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

A confession from the author:

Andi Anna Jones, mediocre travel agent, with an inferiority complex about her job, her looks, and her single status, discovers her “inner sleuth” in Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder. 

Keeping with some excellent advice I got years ago, to “write what you know’, her character and job are loosely based on a horrifying stint I had in North Miami Beach as a travel agent. I was truly awful and would duck down behind my computer whenever a customer came in the door. 

Fortunately, I worked with a fabulous agent named Ellen who recognized my fear and would usually jump in to help when I got stuck. In honor of Ellen, Andi’s sidekick and true manager of Graves Travel Agency is Ellie. She saves Andi’s butt in the same way Ellen saved mine. The only thing Andi finds irritating about her assistant is that she always calls her, Jonesy. 

I hoped writing the book will help exorcise the experience from my memory by giving Andi a positive course for her curiosity and love of a good mystery. 

Purchase Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076N6KBM3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/756600

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Mary_Cunningham_Margaritas_Mayhem_Murder?id=0jU8DwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/margaritas-mayhem-murder

Find Mary on Social Media: 

Links: 

Website: https://www.marycunninghambooks.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/Cynthiasattic

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/marycunninghambooks/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaryCunningham

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gus65/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marycunningham1/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/367223.Mary_Cunningham

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNEK4

Imajin Books: http://www.imajinbooks.com