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Coffee & Chat, Writing

Coffee & Chat #14 – Tomorrow’s the big day

Happy Monday,

Tomorrow is the big day. It’s release day for my debut novel, I’m sure you’ve heard of it by now – THE UNINVITED CORSPE. It’s just something I whipped up one spring afternoon when I got frustrated by the romantic suspense I was in the middle of. If it were that easy, right? Writing is hard. Publishing is hard. But, what can I say? I love it.

I’ve been getting some questions about my release day so I thought now would be a good time to answer them. I have my coffee, so I’m ready to go.

Is your publisher sending you on a book tour?

I wish! Budgets are tight in publishing houses so not every author is sent out on tour. The bright side to that is I don’t have to juggle appearances with writing my next book. Or, deal with TSA.

What are you doing to celebrate the big day?

I’m still not sure yet. I’ve been so focused on writing the next books I’m contracted for and focused on being present with the promotion of THE UNINVITED CORPSE I haven’t given much thought to how I’ll celebrate tomorrow. However, I’m sure I’ll be spending a good part of the day at my computer working.

When’s the movie coming?

I wish! There’s been a lot of buzz lately about novels being turned into TV shows. Hallmark, anybody? Yes, it would be awesome to have my book turned into a Hallmark movie or for any other network or producer, but the truth is I’m not chasing a movie deal. I want to write books. If a movie happens that’s great! If not, that’s okay. I’m doing what I love.

If you’re not going on a book tour, then how are you promoting the book?

I’m currently on a blog tour. Just over 30 stops for THE UNINVITED CORPSE. It’s a mix of reviews, spotlights, guest posts and interviews. It was a lot of work at the beginning to write the posts and interviews while juggling all the other work I have but now I’m seeing it was so worth it. THE UNINVITED CORPSE is receiving some great reveiws and I’m getting good questions at the blogs where I’ve written a post or given an interview.

When’s the next book coming out?

The second Food Blogger Mystery, THE HIDDEN CORPSE, will be released in April 2019. However, I will have a new series debuting in January 2019. MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is the first book in the Resale Boutique Mystery series. That book was so much fun to write!

Those have been pretty much the questions I’ve been receiving in the past few weeks as the release date has grown closer. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s not every day a gal gets published!

If you have any questions that weren’t included above, feel free to ask!




Coffee & Chat, Life, Writing Updates

Coffee & Chat #13 – Catching Up

Happy Monday,

Today is number thirteen for our Coffee &  Chats. This seems like a good time to catch up because it’s been awhile. I’ve been busy writing and preparing for the launch of THE UNINVITED CORPSE I just didn’t have any words left to write blog posts. It happens sometimes.

I have my coffee so let’s start catching up. First up, is my debut novel’s release. It’s coming real soon. March 27th!!! I remember when I got the offer and 2018 seemed soooo far away. Lately it’s been feeling like Boom! There it is! Like…tomorrow! I’m doing my best to to hyperventilate every day when I think about the release or how much work needs to be done. I’m trying to remain calm and carry on. So far, it’s working. But it’s really hard not to freak out over something you’ve dreamed about for so long. Seriously, getting published is sooo hard to do. But I did it. And I have to remind myself that if I expend all my energy freaking out about the release and everything that’s involved I’ll miss out on the enjoyment of the event.

A part of the release will be a blog tour. The blog tour involves reviews, interviews and guest posts. So over the next week or so I’ll be completing those interviews and wrapping up writing the guest posts. I’ll be posting on social media where you can find me during the blog tour. I’m looking forward to visiting with as many people as possible on the tour. Advanced Reader Copies of the book have been sent out and reviews are now starting to be posted online. Reading reviews is hard to do and as much as I’m beyond thrilled with the reviews so far, I know that somewhere along the way to release day there will be one or two (I pray no more) negative reviews. Maybe I should start planning how I’ll handle those reviews. Many authors I know rely heavily on chocolate.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing the first draft of book three in the Food Blogger Mystery series. The draft is complete and I’ve set it aside to work on the outline of another book.

There’s one more thing I’d like to share before I wrap this post up. I’m not sure if you heard that I sold a new series to my publisher. MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, book one in the Resale Boutique Mystery Series releases in January 2019. Out-of-work fashionista Kelly Quinn inherits her granny’s old and tired consignment shop. An attempt to turn the shop around is foiled when a dress in the shop on consignment is connected to a murder. I had so much fun writing the book and I can’t wait to begin book two, which is the book I’m currently outlining.

It’s so fun catching up with you. Thanks for dropping by today!


Coffee & Chat

Coffee & Chat #12 – Recipe for a Perfect Fall Weekend Outing?

Happy Monday!

It’s been awhile since our last Coffee & Chat. Over the summer I got caught up in writing and the work that accompanies writing. Writing is more than just sitting on a window seat waiting for inspiration to strike. 🙂 There’s a whole side business side to writing add to that the actual writing time, the time needed to spend outside gardening and everything else that needs to get done, there’s precious little time left for anything else. I’m hoping now that we’ve entered into fall and I’m back on a routine I’ll be able to continue our Coffee & Chats on a weekly basis. I have a full cup of coffee so lets get chatting.

A perfect fall weekend outing includes a few things:

A cool, sunny day. A day when I need to add a layer to ward off the chill but still need sunglasses because the sun is bright. I look forward to those beautiful days of fall. I love pulling on a flannel shirt or vest. I enjoy a day in the mid-60s where I can walk and walk and walk and not be weighed down by humidity.

There’s no timeline. We can take our time, not be rushed. We have the flexibility to veer off course, take a road we didn’t plan on and see where it leads. Don’t you just love when you come across a shop or a restaurant or a farm stand you weren’t expecting to find? Traveling without having to be somewhere by a certain time is freedom.

Being disconnected. Ditching electronic devices for anything other than taking photographs allows me to be in the moment. No emails. No texts. No calls. Whether it’s antiquing or hiking, being present right there and then is why I left the house, to experience something different.

Good company and good food. Both are essential for any outing. After all, who wants to go somewhere with someone who’s a grump and eat bad food?

Full tank of gas and a GPS. ‘Nuff said. 🙂

Weekend outings are fun, even if it’s just a trip to a local farm to find the perfect pumpkin. Getting out and enjoying the fall season in all it’ splendor is truly a gift. Nature puts on an amazing show for us to see so we shouldn’t be stuck inside and let it pass us by. Autumn is more than pumpkin spice everything.

I’m going to finish my coffee now. Please feel free to share what you need for a perfect fall weekend out.

Have a great day!
Coffee & Chat, Writing

Coffee & Chat # 11 – Do you outline your plot?

Happy Monday! I’m hoping to get back to our regular Coffee & Chat visits. Between life and work it’s been a little cray-cray around here so I’ve needed to limit my time on the computer when I’m not writing. One of the questions I’m asked often is whether or not I outline. So today I thought I’d answer that question. I have a full cup of coffee so lets get chatting.

There are a few schools of thoughts on outlining. There’s a group that doesn’t outline. There’s a group that does outline. And there’s a group that does a combination of both processes, which means they loosely outline so they have an idea of where the story is going. Me? I outline. The outline for the Uninvited Corpse was about 20 (single-spaced) pages long and the outline for book two came in at 23 pages. I cannot imagine writing either book without outlining. Just typing that gave me the chills.

Why do I outline? Outlining gives me a clear direction of where the story is going and lays out the plot which includes twists and turns and defeats and triumphs for my amateur detective, Hope Early.

How do I outline? I begin with Michael Hague’s six stage plot structure. This method also serves as a template for writing the synopsis of the novel. Yes, even after selling your first book you need to be able to write a synopsis for your next book. Lets look at an example of how I incorporate this structure into my outlining.

Act One: First 25% of the novel

0-10% – The Ordinary World

This part of the book is her ordinary world, it’s Hope’s life before the murder and where I hope that readers will connect with her and want to follow her along the journey. I usually just write a few sentences with very few details.

Here’s what I wrote for the book I’m currently working on (the second in the Food Blogger Mystery series):

Hope Early is the publisher behind the growing food blog, Hope at Home. Her current project for her blog is a series on stress-free meals so she’s developing recipes for slow cookers and pressure cookers. She’s also continuing to remodel her antique farmhouse and the big project now is building a new garage on her property. The book opens with Hope arriving for the first day…I’m not giving any more away. 🙂

Now I’ll continue to go through the whole six stage plot structure and when it’s complete I’ll set it aside for a few days. When I return to the document I’ll add a few spaces to each section and elaborate on what is happening at that particular point of the story. Each section now will have several sentences which are a bit more detailed and the basis for the next step of outlining the novel.

When I begin outlining I include the chapter number, the scene number, the day in the story, the time of day, and the location. I also include all the details of that scene, snippets of dialogue if they come to me as I’m typing, descriptions of characters or locations or objects, and links to online research sites. My outline is jam packed with a lot of stuff. Here’s a snippet from the outline I’m currently using:

Day One – late afternoon

Hope arrives at home and is greeted by her sister, Claire Dixon. She didn’t expect Claire to be waiting for her or having to explain why she’s late getting home. Bigelow, her dog, comes racing to welcome her home. Claire is in a huff because…you’ll have to read the book to find out why she’s upset. 🙂

Writing the outline can take weeks and I honestly don’t remember how long it took to write the outline for book 2. I completed it last spring. Some writers feel writing an outline sucks the joy out of writing the novel. They’re not surprised by anything when they sit down to write the novel or they feel the outline structure is too rigid. Valid points. However, I don’t feel that writing an outline hinders the novel writing process. The outline isn’t carved in stone and can be adjusted accordingly as I write the story. During the draft writing process (I usually go through 4 drafts) I have changed things such as eliminating a scene – I did that in the first draft of book 2, the scene was flat and I was totally bored by it so I cut it and brainstormed a new scene to replace it – or adding a character or re-arranging scenes. Doing any of those things can be nerve-wracking for a writer but since I have a detailed outline that is guiding me, it’s like a safety net, I can make those changes on the fly.

If a new writer asked me if he/she should outline I would say “yes” and share my reasons why. But does a writer need to outline? No. Every writer writes differently and no one should impose his/her practices on another writer. But I think writers should outline. 🙂

Coffee & Chat

Coffee & Chat # 10 – So what’s the title of your book?

Happy Monday! I’ve been getting a few of the same questions since I announced I sold my mystery series so I decided to share those questions and their answers today. Ready?

What’s the title of your book? I’m happy to be able to share with you that the title of the first book in the Food Bloger mystery series is The Uninvited Corpse.

What’s it about? Former reality TV star Hope Early thought her biggest problem was driving traffic to her food blog, but discovering two dead bodies and clearing her sister of their murders have Hope trading her Google analytics for amateur sleuthing. When there’s an attempt on her own life, Hope has no choice but to uncover the murderer before she becomes the next corpse du jour.

How long is is? About 300 pages.

How long did it take to write? About ten months.

Do you have an agent? Yes.

When will it be out? April 2018.

Who’s publishing it? Kensington Publishers.

Are they in New York? Yes.

How much did they pay you? I’m sorry, I don’t discuss my finances.

Are you working on another book? Yes. I have a 3 book contract so I’m currently writing book 2.

What’s book 2 about? Since I’m currently working on the first draft I prefer not to say what the plot is at this time.

There you have it, the 11 most asked questions about my first book. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. If you don’t have a question please feel free to say “hi” in the comments section.