I know Better Than That!

New blog post!

Pen In Hand, by Victoria LK Williams

The direction is simple. It is repeated over and over as you master this tool of your craft. We know that we have to do it, and are reminded constantly. Sometimes it is even automatically done for us with out our even knowing…
BACK UP YOUR FILES!!!
General I am pretty good about this, especially anything to do with my writing. I back that up in multiply ways; flash- drive, the cloud, separate computer.  Losing hours of writing is a writers worst nightmare (other than writer’s block) and we all take extra care of our manuscripts.

It’s the everyday things that you forget about.  If you’re like me you click the “remind me” button because you just don’t want to take an extra 5 seconds to let the program back itself up.  Instead, you just keep adding more and more information.  Well, today my taking shortcuts came to bite me in…

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I know Better Than That!

The direction is simple. It is repeated over and over as you master this tool of your craft. We know that we have to do it, and are reminded constantly. Sometimes it is even automatically done for us with out our even knowing…
BACK UP YOUR FILES!!!
General I am pretty good about this, especially anything to do with my writing. I back that up in multiply ways; flash- drive, the cloud, separate computer.  Losing hours of writing is a writers worst nightmare (other than writer’s block) and we all take extra care of our manuscripts.

It’s the everyday things that you forget about.  If you’re like me you click the “remind me” button because you just don’t want to take an extra 5 seconds to let the program back itself up.  Instead, you just keep adding more and more information.  Well, today my taking shortcuts came to bite me in the butt.  I lost all my contacts in my iPhone and had that instant moment of panic and devastation: I had everything in there: phone numbers, addresses, birthday, private notations, codes and directions.

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Lucky for me some really good friends were able to walk me through a few steps and I was able to restore an older version which saved about 90% of the information (thanks guys!)

So I’ve learned a valuable lesson, and I promise to back up my files every time I pause in my work or every time my computer promotes me

…until I forget again and it ignore so that I can keep writing!

It’s all about the Name…

As a writer, one of the hardest things I have to do is to decide on the right names for my characters.  It has to look right in print, sound right on the lips and feel right in my heart.  It can take time to pick the best one, and often I find myself changing it as I start to get into the story.  And then there is the decision on if I should give my characters a nickname…

Nicknames are often used as a sign of love between friends and family and often the only make sense to a select few that are part of that inner circle. The most common nicknames are shorting of your full name, or maybe a combination of your initial’s (JJ, DJ). Or maybe it’s an endearing name like Sweetie or Honey.
Whatever the name, once you have it; it’s yours for life. Have you every run across a grown man who tops 6′ and is called “Tiny”? Oh you many move away and start a new life, change your whole persona, and forget all about it. But the minute you go home, or meet someone from home-out comes that name and you are thrown back in time.
Since most of us receive our nick names from our loved ones, we embrace the feeling of belonging that it gives us, or at the least we “grin and bare it”. That name is a connection between people, special, even if it is just between two souls.
My nickname when I was little came from Grandpa. My grandfather was a quiet man, always with a pipe in hand and a smile on his face. His humor was simple and often took you by surprise because it was so often right on the mark. Except for this nickname-I just never quite got it! My mom actually had the name before me, I just became number 2.

And the name you ask? TERMITE. (I am Termite 2).

When I asked my Grandpa about it, he would just smile and say “A termite gets into everything.” That’s all there was to it, and it made sense to him. It’s been years since he died, and with his passing, my nickname became silent. It just never sounded the same coming from anyone else.

So, I ask you, is your nickname as special as mine?

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I Won The Lottery (NOT)

We’ve all wanted to yell those words at the top of our lungs. Who won’t wait to go to work and say either I quit or I’m buying you out?? Well last night was the Power Ball  Lottery and the winning ticket was worth 425 million.  Needless to say, I didn’t win.

But those kind of numbers would make anyone start to think…What would you do with all that money?

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Are you the type who would buy your own private island to live in luxury, away from all of the frustrations and annoyances of daily life?  Or maybe you would be more of a philanthropist and would you try to help as many of the wonderful and worthy charities out there in need?  Maybe you would splurge and go on an all out shopping spree, or run away on an exotic vacation?

As a writer, I have to be honest and tell you that the private island sounds wonderful.  I could finally have time to do all the writing I want, uninterrupted.  But then I would want to go and experience as much adventure as I could: so that I could go back and write some more.

No matter where what your secret desires are, with this type of money you are sure to be thinking of how to spend it.

Imagination is a writers tool…and wouldn’t it be fun to use this tool to create the most outlandish adventure?

There’s Something About A Puppy

beagle-puppies-wallpaperToday I stopped by a friend’s home and discovered that they have a new addition to their family: a 7 week old puppy.  The family was really excited about the little tike, and like all puppies he was just too cute for words.

While I was there, we took the little guy outside to do his business and a little exploring.  Once he realized that he (still no name yet) was free to roam the huge yard, he took off like an arrow being released from the bow.  His short little legs stumbled in the taller grass, but once he made it to the freshly mowed lawn area he was free.  Rolling in the grass, chasing his short little tail, and running from us when we called; it wasn’t long before he worn himself out.  Looking up at us, he gave a wide yawn and simply took a nap right where he sat.

Picking the puppy up, we went back inside to visit.  Before long the school bus stopped out front, dropping off my friend’s son from school.  With barely a hello to me and just a wave for his mom, her son had only time for his dog.  Laughing, she told me that all anyone in the family wanted to do when they came home was check in on the puppy.  This tiny ball of fur had become the center of the household in a very short time and now there was no problem keeping her family home in the evening, spending time together.

Now my dog is no longer a puppy, but he is still an important member of our family.  His personality and actions give us plenty to laugh and talk about.  In my writing, I always include animals; either cats or dogs.  In the Citrus Beach Mystery Series, the main character has a Beagle puppy that plays an important role.

When I go to purchase a book, if there is a dog or cat on the cover, then that book gets more of my attention and a greater chance of my purchase. If you go to Amazon and look in the kindle books under “Cozy Mystery” you will find that there is a sub-heading for animals.
So, I guess you can reason that having a puppy on the cover helps sell books! And since the cover is the window to a book, you can honestly ask
“How much is that doggie in the window?”

That College Life Has Sure Changed!

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As a writer, I often find my writing follows the same path that events in my life does.  It often isn’t planned that way, but when I look back on what I have just written, that’s what I see on the page in front of me.

Here is a perfect example…

In the second book in the Citrus Beach Mystery Series, Megan’s daughter pays her mother a surprise visit from college, bringing her roommate home with her.  (I can remember doing that to my parents too.)

Just this past weekend we took our son for the open-house event at the college of his choice in south Florida.  To say it was a successful weekend would be an understatement!  To quote my son’s reaction…”just pack my laptop & clothes- I’m ready to start NOW!”

And why won’t he?  The college experience looks like it has changed so much since I went.  To my son’s delight, the female population at this college was greater than the male: everywhere we looked, we saw long hair and short shorts and friendly students.  Technology has appeared in every classroom & dorm, and the students all seem so intense.  The dorms where equipped with all a student would need and there was plenty of support staff on hand so insure that his upcoming time on campus would prepare him for his future.

Courses of studies have changed over the years as well.  Oh, there are still the old favorites, but now there are so many related to the news jobs on the market like graphic design & computer science.  How can you not be excited about this new era of college life?

Maybe I should go back to college…

 

It’s Not Just About Hearts & Flowers

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Valentines Day brings to mind romance: beautiful bouquets of flowers, heartfelt love letters, heart shaped boxes of chocolate candies, romantic get-a-ways…

But as a mystery writer, my mind goes in other directions.  MURDER. And what is the underlining factor in many murders-LOVE! (Oh, don’t get me wrong: I love the romance too and a box of chocolate just makes my day!)

I took three simple words and mixed them up to make 3 sub genres in the mystery category on Amazon Kindle Books and here is what I found:

Valentine Murder Mystery : 93 books are available

Valentine Murder: 321 books are available

Valentine Mystery: 300 books are available

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only writer thinking along these lines.  These books ranged from children’s mysteries to romance & cozy mysteries to outright blood thirsty murder thrillers. Personally, I tend to read and write in the cozy mystery range.

Think about it: passions are running high and something goes wrong.  Before you know it an act of violence has taken place.  OR…The night is set for romance and it’s the opportunity to carry out the plan for the perfect murder.  Will it be poison in the wine or a push off the ledge during a romantic walk?

So, now that I have planted these thoughts of mystery and murder, I wish you a normal & romantic Valentines Day!

 

 

 

I wanna write, I wanna play….

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I wanna write, I wanna play…and with a view like this can you blame me?  Can’t you just picture sitting on this dock with a book in hand or possibly a lazy afternoon of fishing?

But it’s not that easy, is it?  Life makes many demands on our time and between the important parts like family and work, it’s sometimes hard to find even a few minutes to yourself.  Extra time to write, or a few minutes of quiet almost seem impossible to find.

That’s why I think I am so lucky.  This view is from an account on my “real” job, and it’s like this all day: either a river view or a beach view!   My mind can wander, allowing me to form ideas, plots and outlines as I work.

I recently starting using the voice memo app on my phone and record as I go; random thoughts that can later be formed into stories, or just erased because they just don’t seem worthy when I play the memo back.

There are so many beautiful parks and beaches in the area where I live and work, so I make it a point to stop for lunch or even a 15 minute break to spend time writing on my ever present laptop or reading before I head home for the day.

Because, you know what happens when I get home? Life happens.  Family members need love and attention, a dog needs to be played with, cats need some cuddling.  And then all the other stuff falls in line demanding to claim even more of my time.

Before I know it, dinner is over, the news is on and I am anxious to get to my laptop.  So here I am, trying to get some writing in for the evening: and the cat walks across the key board, the dog is waiting at the door to go out for a walk, my son is looking for a snack and my husband just smiles at me.

Guess I’ll have to wait to write until everyone else has gone to bed: my writing time starts around 10:30 pm.  Until then…

It All Happened When…

Summer time down here is Florida is a time to regroup and plan for the upcoming season with gusto.  Since it is often slow business wise, it is also a good time for reflection. 

It was during a morning business networking group that I found myself faced with a challenge of my own.  We were all reveling a secret longing that each of us had always wanted to pursue.  When it was my turn, I found myself blurting out the words “write a mystery and see it published”.  Well, the person most surprised by this revelation was non-other than ME!! 

Oh, I knew I had always loved to read, and when I was in college enjoyed creative writing, but then life happened at that all got swept into the back drawer of my desk as I made room for a business and family.

And the years passed.

Now my son is getting ready to head off to college himself and I have just proclaimed to my friends and associates that I wanted to write a book.  Well, what was I to do?  Those words were not just a longing, but a dare to myself-a double dog dare.  I could just pretend that it was just a passing fancy, a whim OR I could do something about it.

And so I began to write. 

And once the words started to form sentences, then pages grew into chapters and by the beginning of fall, I had completed my first book!  Now I’m hooked.  I have started the second book in the mystery series and have the outlines for about ten more books in the same series.  Plus, I have the idea for another series in a whole other style and genre.

It hasn’t been as easy as it sounds (I’m horrible at spelling and my first book needed a lot of editing) and I still have a business to run and a family to take care of.  But, you know, I think I like this new direction my life is going in.

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