So you’ve always wanted to write a novel…here’s your chance!

One of the things I hear often when talking to readers is how they have an idea for a novel, but just haven’t gotten around to writing it. The reasons they give are many—time constraints, not being quite sure how to start, or perhaps they’ve written a chapter or two—or more, but don’t know how to proceed from there.

Well, if you’re one of those aspiring authors, here’s your chance to gain some important tools of the trade and hopefully inspire you to get on with it!   On Wednesday, October 1st, mystery writer, Caryl Dierksen, free-lance journalist and author, Elizabeth Harmon, and yours truly will be presenting Building Your Writer’s Tool-Kit at the Crystal Lake Public Library. We will cover topics like developing character ideas, plots, timelines, outlines (or none), and doing enough research to get you started but not so much that it bogs you down. We’ll also discuss how to clear the distractions from your life so you can do the thing you really want to do.

The presentation is set just in time to get you geared up for November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when you can join thousands of other aspiring novelists in creating a 50,000 word first draft of the novel that’s kicking around inside you, dying to come out.

We start at 7 p.m.. The program is free and you don’t have to live in the Crystal Lake area to attend. Click CLPL–Building Your Writer’s Tool Kit to take you directly to the Library’s sign up page for the workshop, or go to www.CLPL.org and select the Calendar tab.

You’ve thought about it. Make this the year you do it. See you there!

A Word About Setting and Its Influence on the Story — And a Chance to win a FREE e-copy of TRUE blue!

TRUE blue is the third installment of my mystery/suspense series based on a Chicago cop family, the DeLucas. So why, you might ask, is there a picture of a mountain lake and a waterfall on the cover?

Good question. Yes, two thirds of the story in TRUE blue does take place in the streets of Chicago. Chicago is a fascinating city compiled of seventy-seven different neighborhoods that house the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich and every socioeconomic class in between. Diversity is Chicago’s middle name. The streets are bustling with commerce, culture, and unfortunately in many instances, crime. Given all that, what better place to set a mystery/suspense novel? From the often serene beauty of Lake Michigan and the famous Chicago skyline to the tired apartment complexes of the inner city, Chicago is ripe for stories of personal triumph and despair.

And, for a pair of married detectives, it is filled with cases that need to be solved. But life can be hectic in this bustling city when you are attempting to keep up with your current case load while trying to solve a twenty-four year old murder, deal with the return of a childhood sweetheart, keep a marriage together, and raise a very active three-year old all at the same time. Oh, and then there’s the extended family and all their issues to contend with.  (Read on and leave a comment to automatically be entered to win a free e-book copy of TRUE blue! Drawing for the winner will be on August 3.) Read more…

TRUE blue Virtual Tour Reviews, Wrap Up and Giveaway!

UPDATE:  And the winner is–Cheryl clb!  Enjoy your Amazon Gift Card!

And a big thank you to everyone who joined me on the tour.

________________________

Only TWO DAYS left in the TRUE blue Virtual Tour.  See the reviews and enter to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate! I’m very excited that the Amazon review rating is 5 Stars!

TRUE Blue Tour Banner

Click HERE for tour!

To read the first FOUR chapters of TRUE blue, Click HERE!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!

Susan Rae

REVIEWS FROM THIS TOUR

June 4 – Sarah Says Read Romance – Review
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… - Review
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Review
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review

 

 

The TRUE Blue Virtual Tour Continues

Steamy Suspense with a husband and wife as the hero and heroine? That’s the topic at PureJonel. Please join me for the discussion and to enter the $20.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Follow the tour for reviews and more insights into the writing of TRUE blue.

June 11 –  Pure Jonel – Guest Post
June 16 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
June 18 – Book Suburbia- Excerpt
June 23 – What Is That Book About – Guest Post
June 24 – Let’s Get Booked – Excerpt
June 25 – Books A To Z - Interview
June 30 – Mythical Books – Guest Post
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… – Review
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Excerpt
July 8 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review
July 10 – Books Direct – Excerpt
July 11 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

The TRUE blue Virtual Tour is Underway!

Follow along for insights into the writing, interviews, reviews and an opportunity to win a $20.00 Gift Card from Amazon! It starts today with the kickoff and a Meet and Greet.  Enjoy!

TRUE blue Virtual Book Tour

May 30th through July 11th

TRUE Blue Tour Banner

Follow along for reviews and insights into the writing of TRUE blue and enter to win a $20.00 Amazon Gift Certificate!

May 30 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Kick Off
June 1 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
June 2 – Simplistic Reviews – Excerpt
June 3 – My Devotional Thoughts – Excerpt
June 4 – Sarah Says Read Romance – Review
June 8 – The Book Diva’s Read – Excerpt
June 9 – The Avid Book Collector - Excerpt
June 10 – A Life Through Books – Interview
June 11 –  Pure Jonel – Guest Post
June 16 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt
June 17 – Texas Book Nook – Review
June 18 – Book Suburbia- Excerpt
June 23 – What Is That Book About – Guest Post
June 24 – Let’s Get Booked – Excerpt
June 25 – Books A To Z – Interview
June 30 – Mythical Books – Guest Post
July 1 – Books are Love - Review
July 2 – Bookish Lover – Review
July 3 – Mommasez… - Review
July 3 – Sweet and Spicy Books - Excerpt
July 4 – Amazeballs Book Addicts – Review
July 8 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post
July 9 - LibriAmoriMiei - Review
July 10 – Books are Love – Review
July 10 – Books Direct – Excerpt
July 11 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up
For a sampling of TRUE blue, Click HERE.

TRUE blue (DeLuca Family 3) is Now Available at All Major eRetailers!

Or, I could just as easily title this post: “Following the writing schedule and meeting the deadline!”

Available May 16th from musapublishing.com, Amazon.com, and all major eBook Retailers

Available May 16th from musapublishing.com, Amazon.com, and all major eBook Retailers

I am thrilled to announce that TRUE blue released on schedule on Friday, May 16th.  This one was a tough one to pull off.  When I started writing the book last September, I didn’t realize how involved it was going to get, or the obstacles that would be put in my path along the way.  However, when my publisher gave me the release date of May 16th, I knew I had to finish the book on time so I could meet the date.  You see, that is my father’s birthdate, and although he passed away almost ten years ago now, I felt that the date was a sign that yes, I did needed to finish this book and get it out there. But a May 16th release date meant a February 15th completed clean draft date so I could get it to my editor and we could work through the edits and get it to my publisher by their March 16th deadline.

A lot happened between September and February 15th: the major family holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s; a debilitating illness; and the death of a very dear family member.  Through it all, though, I knew I had to keep working, meeting the weekly page schedule that I set for myself in the beginning of the writing. It wasn’t always easy. There were times when the last thing I wanted to do was sit my butt down in the chair and write.  However, when one has a goal the only way to reach it is to keep plugging along.  And, as of February 5th, I had another reason to complete the book–I had a very dear sister-in-law who was taken too early that I wanted to dedicate it to.

So yes, the book is here, and as the author, I am even more thrilled that it is all and even more than I imagined it would be.  TRUE blue continues the story of the DeLuca Family and deals with love and abiding friendship while tackling a twenty-four year old murder mystery.  There’s also a little steam in it to spice it up. And if you haven’t read DeLuca Family 1 and 2 (heartbeats and ICE blue), don’t be dismayed. You can enjoy TRUE blue as a stand alone novel, too!

So for now, Happy Reading while I celebrate. Although, I must say, the next book is already percolating in my head.  Ah, the life of a writer :-).

TRUE blue (DeLuca Family)

Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.

Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life.  He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town.  Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.

There is very little gray in Joey’s line of work as a Lt. Detective–it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father’s murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.

Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?

BUY LINKS:

MusaPublishing.com

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble Nook

Smashwords

EXCERPT: Click HERE

Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Booksigning: A lot of fun and a winner in the drawing of a free eBook of TRUE blue

Susan Rae at Spring Fling 2014 Book Signing

Susan Rae at Spring Fling 2014 Book Signing

 

 

 

The book signing event at Chicago North RWA’s 2014 Spring Fling was a lot of fun.  I was able to meet some new authors and fans. Chicago North always puts on a great conference for both multi-published authors and those just starting their writing career. And, there is a winner in my drawing for a free eBook of TRUE blue: DeLuca Family 3.  Cathleen Hays, you will be one of the first to get a copy when it is released on May 16th.  Thank you to all of you who stopped by and to my fellow authors who I had a chance to visit with, and to all of the coordinators and volunteers at the conference. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay as long as I would have liked, but by all accounts, it was another great conference!

TRUE blue Cover Reveal/Contest!

Available May 16th from www.musapublishing.com, Amazon.com, and all major eBook Retailers

Available May 16th from http://www.musapublishing.com, Amazon.com, and all major eBook Retailers

UPDATE:  We have a winner in TRUE blue‘s Name that Picture on the Cover Contest!  Congratulations, Cindy Erexson. You correctly identified the scene as Glacier National Park and have won a free download of TRUE blue.

Only eleven days and counting until TRUE blue‘s release. And yes, although the main characters are Chicago Cops, somewhere along the way they have to leave the city and venture to Glacier.  Although the book is intrigue and suspense, it was quite fun writing the majestic scenery into the book and sharing it with readers.

If you would like to be one of the first to get a copy of TRUE blue, click HERE to pre-order it directly from MusaPublishing today!

________

Only THREE WEEKS and counting until TRUE blue’s release… and we have a cover!

I’m very excited about this one and in honor of its reveal, I am offering a FREE eBook copy of TRUE blue to the first person who leaves a comment on this post or on my Facebook page who correctly identifies where the background picture is taken. You get two guesses. That’s two chances to win!

TURE blue cover Pic

The inspiration for TRUE blue’s cover!

True Blue: Book Three in the DeLuca Family Series

When Lt. Detective Joey DeLuca’s childhood flame breezes into Chicago seeking answers to her father’s twenty-four year old murder, the situation heats up for Joey, his wife Andi, and the entire DeLuca clan. For an excerpt, click HERE!

(All DeLuca Series books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.)

Enter to be the first one to get a copy of TRUE blue when it is released May 16th!

(HINT: this view is some place in the United States. Hope that helps!)

Read more…

Beta Readers–You’ve got to love them!

Or…What happens when they point out something in your novel that could make it stronger but would require some significant revising just days before your first edits are due back to your editor?

In a perfect world, you would have finished your manuscript and sent it to your Beta readers long before your first edits come back.  Ah yes…in a perfect world. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

So, what do you do? First of all, you have to believe in your Beta Readers.  For that, you cannot have just anyone as a
Beta Reader. You need people you trust. People who are not going to love anything you write just because you wrote it, but people who read a lot, and read in the genre that you write. They don’t all have to be writers themselves, but one or two writers in the group is nice, especially if one of them has editing experience also.  How many readers should you have?  That’s up to you.  I have four whose opinions I value highly.

So now you’re Beta Readers have read the manuscript and pointed out some things that you might have missed in the story: things that were not said, but maybe should have been said; things you assumed readers would understand but that did not come across clearly in the manuscript; things that didn’t sound quite right to your readers; etc.  You take all their comments to heart, decide which ones you need to address and fix some, but you don’t necessarily make all the changes they suggest. Sometimes only one reader will have a problem with something and you have to decide if it is really is a problem or not.  Occasionally, however, there is an item that multiple readers come up with.

That’s what happened to me with TRUE blue, and to be honest, it was a change I was toying with as I wrote the novel, but had decided to leave as I originally envisioned.  Now, though, just days before the edits are due, three bring up this main point and feel the storyline would be stronger if I do this little change, which really isn’t so little as it is interwoven throughout the entire book!

Of course, I’m not going to tell you what it is. :-) That might spoil the story for you.  But I had to ask myself before I did any changes to the manuscript, would this main change really make the story stronger?  Would it make a significant enough difference in the character arch to justify the revisions? And, what did my editor think about it?  I sent off an email to my editor. She replied that she really didn’t see a problem, that the story worked just fine the way it was, but yes, changing it would work, also.  It was up to me to decide.  I still needed to meet the deadline, though.

So now what do I do?  Well, I decided to work through all of the edits first while I mulled over the bigger change. Finally, when all the edits were done, I decided that yes, in my heart I knew that what my Beta readers were telling me was true–and, although it would require more work, I also knew that I owed it to myself to put out the best work I possibly could. I made a new manuscript file, figured out the best way to make the change with the least amount of revising, and dove in.

Two days later, the manuscript, complete with all edits addressed and the new changes incorporated, was done–two days before I said I’d have it back to the editor. Yeah!

And yes, I do believe the story is stronger for it.

So, Beta Readers…It takes a lot of courage to put a manuscript out there to your first readers.  But if you want comments, be ready to accept what they give you, and be ready to put the work in if they come up with an item that might require a fairly significant revision. Of course, as a writer, one way to look  it is as just another awesome challenge to get the story just right.

To all my Beta Readers…Love you. Thanks! To my readers, only FIVE MORE WEEKS until TRUE blue’s release.  Until then, I thought I would leave you with this tease…

Sometimes we must revisit the past to embrace our future.

Twenty-four years ago, the murder of a Chicago police officer changed Joey DeLuca’s life.  He lost his best friend and first love, Meghan McConnell, when her mother whisked her out of town.  Now, on the eve of another officer’s death, Meghan is back and about to step into his life again.

There is very little gray in Joey’s line of work as a Lt. Detective–it is either black or white, right or wrong. But Meghan’s insistence on finding answers to her father’s murder threatens those beliefs and throws his marriage to CPD Detective Andi, his career, and the entire DeLuca family in jeopardy when new revelations come to light.

Can Joey save his marriage, solve the murder, and keep his family together all at the same time?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Susan Rae 

The Spirit–And Making Sense Of It All

Diane Nurse-cropped

Diane McCowan Shogren

Authors write about life, love, heartache, turmoil, joy, hardship, and death; and in doing so, we try to make sense of it all. Sometimes, though, especially when terrible, random events happen resulting in a tragic death, it is difficult to find the sense involved. So it would seem with the untimely death of my sister-in-law, Diane. I am not an especially religious person–I attend church only occasionally, but I do believe in God and a purpose for everyone on Earth. Do I believe he has some master plan, though, and that he took Diane from us as a part of that plan? My first reaction is no, that horrible things just happen, and it is through his strength that we find our own strength to deal with such loss.

However, these days I find myself waffling on that score.  If God did, indeed, need a kind, compassionate, loving soul to care for troubled souls in Heaven, Diane would be his girl. Years ago I wrote the following poem.  Originally titled Autumn, I have retitled it, The Spirit, in honor of Diane as I try to make sense out of it all.

The Spirit

Light illumines through the leaves,

The Sun, golden, shines through,

Like…the bright light when dying.

Is it God, or is it you?

Now when I glimpse the sunlight shining through the leaves as I play on the golf course, or sit beneath a tree, pondering the lives, joys, hardships, and yes, tragic deaths of the characters in my novels, I will think of Diane and recall her loving, caring spirit and believe that her soul is still working for good. Diane, we miss you, but I consider you one of our guardian angels. You were on Earth; I have to believe you are even more of one in Heaven.

It seems like your work is not done, my friend.

Wishing You All A Very Merry Chistmas!

Christmas came early to our house this year.  How fun it was to have the daughters, son-in-laws, and grandchildren for the day.  The only one missing was the number one son, but he was totally in our hearts.  The hubby and I are looking forward to visiting him sometime in the next couple of months.  So now, with Christmas Eve upon us, we are wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas.  May your hearts be filled with love and joy, may all those you hold dear be safe, and may the new year be replete with hopes and dreams fulfilled.

Until Next Year,

Susan Rae

Cyber Monday SALE: ALL e-books 50% off at MUSAPublishing.com

It’s Cyber Monday at Musa Publishing. ALL E-BOOKS 50% OFF!
The weather outside may be frightful, but the fire is definitely heating up between Chicago Paramedic Angela DeLuca and ICE Agent Troy Deavers.  It’s the perfect season to enjoy ICE blue! 
Start your purchasing here, and then continue on to see the other great reads MUSA has to offer. http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=561
Now, while your having fun shopping, I’m getting back to work on TRUE blue, Part #3 of the DeLuca Family Series!
Until next time,
Happy Reading,
Susan

Number of Stitches vs. Number of Words

AfghanWhich is more?  The number of stitches in this afghan, or the number of words in one of my novels?

I have been crocheting this afghan for one of my grandsons.  I owe him as I did not crochet him a baby blanket like I did for my granddaughters.  Mind you, I didn’t mean to slight him, really, I just never thought of crocheting him one at the time because I was crazy busy. Actually, it’s turning out to be a great deal for him, because this one is much larger than any baby afghan I might have given him and the colors aren’t babyish at all. He’ll be able to use it right through grade school and high school and maybe even onto college and even after that.  Practical, right?  Of course, I realize I’ve set myself up now.  I’m going to have to do new ones for the girls when they are older, so they have them as they move forward in life, too.

But that’s okay. I enjoy crocheting the afghans, especially when I need a break from writing.  You see, crocheting an afghan is so the opposite of writing a novel. With a novel, I have to think about every word.  With the afghan, I barely have to think at all. Once I figure out the pattern, it’s just a matter of counting, and counting, and counting, one stitch after the other.  It’s quite mind numbing, which is great.

But it does seem to take me forever to finish one (actually three to four months—just like working on a novel, it’s impossible to crochet non-stop), so I was wondering the other day, how does the number of stitches in an afghan compare to the number of words in one of my novels?

Let’s see, ten stitches up, three in one, ten stitches down, skip two, times eight for eight points, two slip stitches, turn—times six rows, times thirteen sections, plus the original one-hundred-eighty-five slip stitches to begin with equals—wait for it—14,693 stitches. Oh my! That seems like a lot of stitches. But the fact is, I would have to crochet six afghans to equal the number of words in one of my books!  Six afghans of non-thinking stitches.  Wow!

I don’t feel so bad now about taking five to six months to write a book.

Which I really have to get back to. So, until next time…

Happy Reading,

Susan Rae

For The Romance Of It All

Welcome to my blog and The Romance Reviews’ Fall into Romance Blog Hop.  

Read on for my interview with fellow romantic suspense author Tracie Ingersoll Loy. Afterwards, leave a comment and you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a free download of one of my novels, your choice!  Follow my blog, and you’ll receive a second entry.  Then click on the button at the end of the post to continue on with the hop for more great opportunities to win prizes.  (Please note, you don’t have to do all your hopping in one day.  You can space yourself out over 9 days. The hop will end on Saturday, September 21, at 11:59pm EST.)

Happy Hopping!

Today, I am featuring fellow romantic suspense author Tracie Ingersoll Loy and her debut novel, Slip Into the Night.  I truly enjoyed this novel as it took me to the islands of the Pacific Northwest, one of the many places in the U.S. I have yet to visit, but plan to add to my list now.  I love romantic settings.  I especially love them when they are juxtaposed against danger and intrigue.  It’s what I strive for in my own novels.  (For more information on my books, Click Here.)  An author with a similar heart, Loy does this well in Slip Into the Night.   Part woman’s fiction, part mystery, part romance–there is something for everyone in her novel.  And if all the mystery isn’t completely tied up at the end, that’s okay, because Loy’s sequel, Deep Into the Night, is coming in October!

While I work on Book Three in the DeLuca Family series, TRUE blue, which promises a trip to Montana’s majestic Glacier National Park, let me step aside and let Ms. Loy take the stage.  Here is my brief interview with her along with the blurb and buy link for Slip Into the Night.

Hello, Tracie.  Thanks for joining us today.

1.  Can you tell us why you chose the Pacific Northwest and specifically Hartz Island for your setting in Slip Into the Night Is Hartz Island a real island?  Hartz Island is fictitious. I created the island from several islands in the San Juan chains. My Aunt and Uncle lived up in the islands and we visited them in the summers.

 

Read more…

Writing Doggy Heroes Into Your Novel, or Don’t Leave Them Home Alone!

Photo

Midget and Gidget (The one of the left is Midget)

As I retreat back into my writing cave to work on TRUE blue, the sequel to ICE blue, I thought I would repost some of the blogs I wrote for the ICE blue virtual tour.  This first one is dedicated to my best friend and the recent loss of a little Chihuahua named Midget who was very dear to her. 

             Oh, how we love our dogs.  Well, mostly.  Okay, I admit it, friends and family have often heard me say I am not a dog person.  So why do I have two of them?  Why do I take such good care of them? And why did I use one of them as a template (granted, given a sex change) for a key character in my new novel, ICE blue?  It’s because I just couldn’t resist the fluffy white ball of fur with the little black eyes when I met her.  She was so cute (and, yes, still is), that I thought she would make a perfect companion for Angela, my heroine, as she is trying to cope with loss and moving on with her life.   I also thought the little button-nosed puppy would make the most unlikely hero.Nikkie

Yes, Half-pint truly is a hero in ICE blue.  He gets to join the ranks of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin (who, by the way, was a real dog) and a contemporary children’s favorite, Bolt.

Dogs are our constant companions.  They love us without conditions, are loyal beyond reason, and often come to the rescue in the direst of times.  The internet is filled with stories of real life dog heroes.  But notice, I said constant companions.  Unlike a cat or a gerbil or a turtle or fish that you can leave for a couple of days and go about your business (you can get auto-feeders for such pets), dogs cannot be left alone for more than a few hours at a time.  You must feed them, let them out, or find someone who will, even if you’re going to be gone for just a day.  The same is true for the dogs in your novel.  And if you’re writing a romance novel, you have to figure out what you’re going to do with the insistent little pup when your hero and heroine want to make love.

So, if your heroine suddenly traipses off to solve a murder, or gets sequestered in a safe house, or works twenty-four hour shifts as a paramedic as Angela does, you need to figure out what to do with the dog while she’s gone.  I don’t know about you, but it drives me crazy when pets or even babies are brought into the story of a book or TV show, but then suddenly disappear for days or weeks on end with no mention of where they are or who’s taking care of them.

Fortunately, this is not a problem for Half-pint and Angela.  Half-pint, one of the unlikeliest little puppy heroes you will find in any novel, plays his full part in ICE blue and stays with the story to the end.  Here is a small sample of Half-pint’s role in the novel.  Dog lovers, enjoy!

Susan Rae    

Excerpt :  ICE blue by Susan Rae

Morning light peeked around the edges of her window blinds when next she opened her eyes. With a start, she realized she must have drifted off to sleep again. Glancing at her bedside clock, she feared the worst—the sun didn’t rise in mid-January in Chicago until almost eight. Read more…

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