Archive for the tag “novel writing”

Finding Inspiration In The Company of a Roomful of Aspiring Authors for NaNoWriMo

And a few novel writing tips!Writers Toolkit Presentation, Susan Rae Intro10_1_2014 webste

Last week I had the opportunity to help present a program titled, “Building your Writer’s Tool Box,” with fellow authors Elizabeth Harmon and Caryl Dierksen. The idea was to give inspiration to writers along with some tips on how to write a complete novel in a month as they gear up along with thousands of other writers who will attempt to write a complete novel in November: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.)

I have to say, though, that I was the one inspired by the forty or so aspiring novelists gathered for the presentation. There is something so soul soothing about being in a room full of people who get what you do and why you do it. Seeing all those eager faces, pens poised ready to take notes, excited to get started, I could almost feel my brain and heart give a huge sigh, just before all those creative synapses started firing again as if I’d had a triple mocha latte. These people understand what it means when characters are talking in your head, wake you up in the middle of the night as you try to reconcile an argument they’ve had, insist on turning your story in one direction when you had planned on them doing something completely different. They also understand the need to write, the urge to create, despite any obstacles that might be tossed your way. Read more…

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 (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

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 

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