Book Joy

Every reader knows the joy of a new book.

There’s something exciting about spending hours deciding which book to get. It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing the book catalogs online, wondering the rows of books in the library or sniffing in the clean scent of a fresh book from the bookstore.  Every reader knows that special feeling you get picking out your books.

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When you’ve finally decided and you’re walking home with that new book, there’s an air of anticipation and you want to read right away. Sometimes you may need to put off reading that a new book because of other obligations. But it’s always there in the back of your mind, it’s waiting with a new adventure just for you.

But if one book makes a reader excited, then you’ll be overjoyed to   buy a complete series at one time. It’s like having your birthday and Christmas wrapped up at once- and all the other little holidays thrown in at the same time. When I can buy books in a series, I feel like I want to be shut away from the world for at least a week until I’ve read every one in a row and in order. I rarely buy a series of fiction books in print. Those I buy on the internet; space is an issue, because if I bought every series I liked, I would need to build a new house just to hold my books.

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But when I buy a series of nonfiction reference books, it’s  like I’ve invested in my future. My future as a writer, because these are the books I’m usually buying. And although I may not read them right away, I display them on the bookshelf, in their proper order, waiting for the opportunity to use them for reference. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I will look through each book to see what is  in each chapter, but it doesn’t get quite the attention that a series of fictional books will get. Those I dive right into and become part of the series.

And I must admit as an author seeing your own series ready for purchase-well there’s just no words to explain the sense of awe and pride. Knowing somebody else might buy  your complete set of works or at least what you wrote in that series is mind-boggling. Self-satisfaction doesn’t begin to cover the words.

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If there was a way, I think every writer would like to sit on the shoulders of the reader and gauge their reaction. Do they like your favorite passage, or smile at that little joke you included? Do they hold their breath in anticipation of a climax, do they sign with your ending-content the story ended the way they wanted? If you’re a mystery writer like me, are they following all your clues? Are they catching which ones are red herrings and are they surprised by your ending? Are you getting the right results with each book in your series?

You hope that these questions will come up every time, in every book.

So, thank you to all who have purchased my books; one at a time or in a complete series.

I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.

Looking for Love?

February is the month of romance. Cupids, hearts, chocolate, wine, murder…Ooops, did I slip on that last one?

Nope, this February is also for murder. Cozy Mysteries in particular. A select group of cozy mystery authors have gotten together to offer readers 14 days of free and discounted books. The common theme is a romance is intertwined with each book.

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So you can download a different book each day, from the 1st through the 14th.

Now if that’s not love….

Hope you all take advantage of this great offer (look for my book on the 9th of February!)

Happy Valentines!

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Write, Weather, Mood

Have you ever noticed how much the weather affects your day-to-day life?

 It’s not just whether it’s raining or cold; it’s the whole feeling of the weather.

On sunny days, you’ll find people smile more and they are more apt to greet you kindly and engage in conversation with you. If it’s one of those perfect weather days, we’ll even prolong the conversation to stay outside to enjoy the weather.

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On a cold rainy day, people barely even look up at you as you walk by. If words are exchange, the  conversation is grumbling about the weather.

As a writer, I’m amazed at how much the weather affects my mood for writing as well.

Seriously, it’s kind of hard to plan a deep dark murder or some villainous crime on a bright sunny day when you’re sitting by the beach. These are the days when I am more in the mood for writing a funny scene or even a romantic one.

However, if you’re curled up inside shivering because of the cold and it’s overcast and rain is hitting the panes of glass of your windows, well that’s different. On a day like this, it doesn’t take too much to put you in the dark mood to write a dark scene. Plots of murder and misdeeds are easy to put down on paper. I have no qualms about putting my main characters in a miserable situation. If I’m miserable, then they can be, too.

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Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_stieberszabolcs’>stieberszabolcs / 123RF Stock Photo

Unfortunately, as a mystery writer, I can’t wait for dark rainy days to write about a murder. My imagination must work overtime to create the mood or scene I’m working on at that moment.  That’s when I often will use other stimuli to help me get in the right frame of mind. Music is a big component as I write, setting the mood for the writing I wish to accomplish. Often going online and looking at pictures (I love Pinterest!) will spark the needed thought process. After all, a picture of a lethal weapon can lead to thoughts of crime.

If these methods don’t work for me, then I find it best to go ahead and write a scene that will fit my mood. I will sneak it into my work in progress later. Or, maybe, put it away in a file to be used in another book.

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No matter what the weather ,as a writer it is important to take control of your work. You should write every day, 1 to 2 paragraphs or 1 to 2 chapters. And if that fails, pick up a book and read someone else’s words. You’ll be amazed at how much this will spark your imagination!

Start 2017 with a Cozy!

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112 Titles, including boxed sets!

Being a writer is also about being a reader. And like everyone else, I love a great deal on books-what could be better than free and $.99?

So spend those last few days of 2016 with a cozy mystery. And then go ahead and start 2017 with another cozy mystery. There are so many to select from, including one of mine!

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And don’t forget to pass this along to other mystery lovers.

Happy Reading and Happy New Year.

 

Gift with christmas ballsIt was a Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Feast is over and everybody sits back to relax. A few may unbuckle their belt a notch or two and others will curling up in a comfortable chair ready to take a nap and sleep off that turkey snooze. You smile at how successful you are holiday bash was and how happy your guests all seem to be.

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and then you turn around and you view the table. You see at all those dirty dishes and you groan because the dishwasher is no longer working. With a determined sigh, you pick up the first plate and begin stacking for the cleanup.

A surprised expression crosses your face as you lift your head and find an unexpected helping hand from either your husband or your brother or just a friend who noticed you start to work. Together you clear the table, making sure the leftovers are put away properly and stacking the dishes in the sink. Smiling at your helper you assure him or her that you’ll get to the dishes later and the two of you go back out into the living room to relax with others.

Washing Plates As Part Of The Daily Chores

But then something magical happens. No, it’s not the Christmas Elves, but rather is a couple of the kids who saw you clearing the table and decided to give a helping hand of their own. Your first clue is the giggling coming from the kitchen and when you walk in to find out what’s going –surprise!  Two or three kids are at the sink, dish towels in hand. Soap so it’s flying as they tease each other and laughter is raining. This is an unexpected Christmas bonus; a time to draw closer to other as they help their hostess. You grin to yourself and walk over to the sink and push one of them away, putting your hands in the soapy water. There’s a system going now; you wash, one rinses, another one dries while the 4th one puts things away.

There is a good rhythm  and what’s even better is the good conversation being shared. Whether it’s teasing or reminiscing, there’s something special about the holiday dish cleanup.

Yes, a dishwasher might be nice. It certainly  more efficient and probably the dishes might have been a  bit more clean,  but, the experience of sharing that time is irreplaceable and priceless.

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So, raise your glass to toast the season and, smile to yourself at your unexpected Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas

&

Happy New Year!

The Holidays are Here!

The turkey has been carved, pies devoured and the annual Macy’s parade enjoyed by all.

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And now the holidays have officially begun!

Black Friday sales are drawing the crowds in, list are being filled and the Christmas decorations are being pulled out of storage. For the next month there will be a special energy all around us. Children will be in awe of the sights and sounds, families will take the time to be together and friends will spent extra time with each other, sharing the joy of the season.

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So, with during this wonderful time of the year, where do you find the time to meet your writing goals? Each writer has their own priorities and habits of writing. Some will stick to their regiment without fail, others will adjust for the season.

For me, the meaning of Christmas is far more important than a daily word count. If you can’t enjoy the special things going on around you, how can you possible write about them? There are magical things that happen during the Christmas holidays that shouldn’t be missed. From the peace of a candlelit church service, filled with joyful songs and praise, to the time spent with family and friends. Cooking (and the dreaded cleaning) decorating the house, putting up the tree and stringing the lights outside are traditional acts for most Americans. Writing out the Christmas Cards or sending well meaning wishes over the internet bring you closer to others. Laughing with your neighbors, sneaking into the house presents that need wrapping and quiet evenings enjoying the finished tree are all part of my holidays.

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So for me these things will come first. Writing will be pushed to late night. Then I can sit and concentrate, listening to Christmas music and staring at the small tree in my office. Inspiration will come-or it won’t. But I will enjoy the blessings of the season to the fullest and be thankful for every new memory that is made.

Who knows; those memories may find themselves written into a scene somewhere down the road…

About the photos:
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_amarosy’>amarosy / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
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The path of Good Intentions

Good intentions and self-promises get in the way of your ever-ending quest for happiness.

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Because no matter how hard we try, something always falls through the crack. Now, you’re scrambling to make everybody happy— including yourself.

I’m so guilty of that.  One thing I’ve done to overcome it, is to make daily goals lists.

I used to laugh at people I know who do that every night, getting ready for the next morning. I would think to myself “what’s so hard about remembering what to do?” But not so much anymore-I’ve started making my own lists.

I don’t know if its age catching up with me, or just life getting so complicated, but I find on the days I don’t do a to-do list, I’m lost I feel like a rat running around in circles— well maybe a mouse.

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As an author, I must separate my to-do lists. I have one for everyday/work, and one for writing. My writers’ list can be anything from points of research I need, to outlining a chapter, or creating a character/setting sheet.

Unfortunately, my writer’s to-do list  tends to be the last thing that gets attention, but someday that will change. In the meantime, I check things off happily as I get them done. What doesn’t get done today, I put at the top of the list for tomorrow? Maybe someday I’ll catch up.

I’m not an organized person, but this is helping. At least it’s helping me feel more in control. Also, it helps me realize what is a priority and what is something that can be delegated or just isn’t necessary. It’s amazing how much busy work we give ourselves.But nobody cares about it. The busy work is not as important as you think.  Nobody will notice if it’s not done, so stuff like that goes to the bottom of the list and will often stay there. It then becomes part of the “someday” list.

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 So get out those post-it notes, daily planner, or use one of those fancy apps on your phone: you have a list to make for tomorrow.

 

Short and Sweet

I am dropping in to let you know  the second book in the Sister Station Series is now available!

I had planned on holding unto it until closer to the holiday season, but then I remembered NaNoWriMo. Since I know how much time and commitment that takes, I decided to release  ***Now Departing***    ahead of schedule.

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http://amzn.to/2fulyFk

I hope that you will enjoy the book. It picks up the story of the Skipton Sisters and their new life in Skipton. As they adjust to the ins and outs of living over a railroad station, they find friendships are treasures.

When the past begins to interfere with the present, threatening their future in Skipton, the sisters find that their new friends are there for support. As Rebecca come face to face with her past, Paige finds herself pulled into the past of Skipton Station.

Follow along and share the sisters discoveries about themselves and their new home. And if you missed book one, be sure to pick up a copy.

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https://www.amazon.com/Now-Arriving-Sister-Station-1-ebook/dp/B018RSIR9M/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Happy Reading!

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It can be a lonely world out there for an indie writer. You can be lost or overwhelmed easily, but we have resources at our fingertips that can help us along. One writer went to the extreme to help other writers. I’m pleased to introduce Kathryn Bax (Pen name Kathryn McMaster) as my guest blogger for this week.

 I’m going to let Catherine tell you a little bit about her story and about the great website that she’s put together for writers and readers alike. I’m proud to be part of this website and of course you can find all of my books there. But it’s not just my books; there’s a vast number of writers from different genres. So, you be sure to go to the website and start picking out some great books to read.

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One Stop Fiction for Readers and Writers

We all like to read free and discounted books, don’t we? Who doesn’t like a bargain? I co-founded One Stop Fiction for two reasons. The first was to provide readers with quality books at discounted rates, the other was as an author I was frustrated at the lack of places I could be seen, other than my own author Facebook pages and website. How could I make sure that my book was on a permanent website, rubbing shoulders with books from my peers? Along came the idea for the website.

However, 9 months ago, the idea hadn’t even been born yet. I was still frantically trying to finish my first novel. Once I was nearly finished I realized that I needed some ideas on how to market it. There was no point in writing a book that nobody would see.

So I paid a squillion to join a course on book marketing only to be bitterly disappointed. It had not stated on sign up that the course was primarily for non-fiction writers. I took very little away from the course and felt rather disgruntled. I was not the only one. Other fiction authors were very unhappy too.

So, being the rebel that I am, I decided to break away from the group and start my own Facebook group where we could all learn from each other and share marketing ideas. The group soon grew to well over 1000 members. However, after listening to the feedback from the new group, there seemed a need to provide a platform where writers could connect to readers and vice versa.

I had built and run several websites of my own before this. I was no stranger to HTML and website jargon. However, I knew that we needed a site that would be more than a ‘mom and pop’ venture. We needed something slick and professional, easy to use and attractive to look at.

In the previous disgruntled group were two very special people; Shaun Griffiths, a Young Adult author who would become our Content Manager, and Alex Okros; an author of short stories (still unpublished) and the published author of a time-management book.

We fast became Internet friends. One day I said to Alex that I was thinking of starting up a website for authors. He said that he too had had the exact same idea. I said that it was all very well and good to have lofty ideas but website platforms did not come cheap. Who would we get to build it? He started to chuckle and said, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? I am a computer programmer and my girlfriend designs websites.” Sometimes, some things are just meant to be.

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http://www.onestopfiction.com

 

The website was released to the public on 8/8/2016 which we hope is an auspicious date – not that we are at all superstitious! Already hundreds of books have been added to the site and we are thrilled to see how many people have entered our monthly competition to win a Kindle eReader Paperwhite worth $119. The competition is open to all, no matter where you live. There is no joining fee, and to say thank you for your subscription you have a choice of 30 free e-books to read.

So please come and join us, have some fun, and be prepared to find some great books!

 By Kathryn Bax (Pen name Kathryn McMaster)

Co-founder and Business Development Manager

http://www.onestopfiction.com

 

about the pictures
logo and head-shot provided by Kathryn Bax
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Watching for Inspiration

Sometimes you have to just push the chair back and walk away from the desktop.You can only stare at a screen for so long before your mind goes numb and you’re searching for inspiration.

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Some of the best inspiration that you can get is from watching the people around you. This is especially true at large public locations. I’m lucky to live in South Florida; between the place where the mouse lives and the place where the dolphins swim there’s plenty of attractions to go and watch people. I don’t know what it is about people who are on vacation, but it seems like they’ll do the most amazing things. It might be because they’re letting their inhibitions down, as ifthey have an “I don’t care” attitude. Or maybe it’s because they think no one’s watching: at least no one they know. Young or old, male or female, there’s plenty of inspiration to watch for.

 

I especially like to watch the interaction between people;  what they’re doing while they’re talking. There are so many hand gestures and movements a person makes without even being aware of it and if you incorporate those into your story line you can add a lot of interest.

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Here’s a perfect example…

We were at the place where the mermaids put on a show in the springs  by Tampa. Two little girls very close in age were excited to be able to see the show with the mermaids. They jumped up and down and chattered non-stop. Their parents kept exchanging looks as they tried to quiet them down. Finally it was time for all of us to go in and sit down in the auditorium to watch the mermaid show. The two little girls were overjoyed with excitement and chattered loudly.Their mother tried to quiet them down but to no avail. Rather than getting in the middle of an argument with them, their father simply took each   girl by  hand and led them to their seats.  Instead of letting them sit together, he conveniently put himself and his wife between the two of them. They weren’t able to feed off the excitement of each other and they settled down to enjoy the show.

In that same auditorium over in the corner there were three little girls in the front row leaning over the railing. They were so excited to see the mermaids that they were pushing their noses up against the glass. Instead of being loud and rambunctious like the other girls, these three little girls were in awe of the mermaids. They whispered back and forth to each other and when one of the mermaids swam over and waved at them they were so excited they just didn’t know what to say.  As the mermaid swam away, the giggling and the whispering started. Yet, it was a smile on the adults around the three girls that told the true story. We were getting more enjoyment out of the children’s joy then out of the show itself.

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Children of all ages are great to watch, because they held nothing back. Watching an adult is a little bit harder; you have to really pay attention, without appearing to stare at the interaction between them. It can be something as obvious as to couples fighting with raised hands and loud voices, to another couple so comfortable with themselves that words are needed. They let  their emotions show through actions;   the older man holds the woman’s hand to help her over a rough patch in the sidewalk. To me that action was louder than the arguments of the other couple.

So, when you feel like you’re stumped, or that you need a break, get out of the house and see what’s going on around you. If you can’t do that, flip on the TV and watch the interactions of the characters on the show. Be sure to pay closer attention to the side characters instead of the main characters. Sometimes what you see going on in the background is funnier than the comic one-liners the main characters have.

Feeling inspired? Good, now get back in that chair and start writing!

 

 

About the pictures:
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