Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moving time!

I've got my own domain now (ginjones.com), and I'll be blogging there, effective September 1, 2014. I've got a test post there now, but I won't have anything new in either location until then, and from then on, all new material will be at my new site.

I'm taking a "vacation" from everything except storytelling until then.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Latest batch of chemo caps

No news or observations to share -- I've got my head down, ignoring the world, while writing the first draft of what's tentatively called A DEALER OF DEATH (Helen Binney #3) -- so all I've got is a picture of my latest collection of (27) chemo caps to be donated this summer. Yeah, I do lean toward shades of blue when I choose the yarn. The other colors are generally from yarn donated by a friend.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reading list, beginning of 2014

Some books, in no particularly order, that I've read (or listened to) and loved so far this year (not including my own books or those of my fellow GHP authors):

C.S. Harris, Why Kings Confess

Patricia Briggs, Night Broken

Ann Droyd, Good Night I-Pad

Robin Sloan, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Donna Andrews, Murder With Puffins (I thought I'd read her entire backlist, but I'd somehow missed this one until now)

Donna Andrews, The Good, The Bad and The Emus

Jim Butcher, Skin Game

Audiobook versions of the first three books in the Harry Dresden series (author Jim Butcher, narrated by James Marsters)






Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fresh start, August 2014

Upcoming releases: 
A Denial of Death (Helen Binney #2), winter 2015, Gemma Halliday Publishing
A Dealer of Death (Helen Binney #3), summer 2015, Gemma Halliday Publishing

Primary WIPs
Finish first draft of A Deal of Death (Helen Binney #3)
Finish second draft of secret project

Status of other Fiction WIPs
A Debt of Death (Helen Binney #4), cogitating
A Four-Patch of Trouble (Keely Fairchild series; quilt appraiser sleuth), finished
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (Keely Fairchild novella), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (Keely Fairchild #2), first draft done
Tree of Life and Death (Keely Fairchild series, holiday novella), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed; on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (Crazy Cat Lady series, post-apocalyptic setting), with beta reader
Two Cats Are Better Than One (Crazy Cat Lady #2), partial first draft, complete outline
Three's A Clowder (Crazy Cat Lady #3), partial first draft, not much outline
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), still in brainstorming stage

Status of Non-fiction WIPs
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
September 6, 2014, Charter Oak Romance Writers (RWA Chapter), Estate planning for authors. More information on the chapter here.
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Visual storytelling

I've fallen off the television bandwagon for the most part. Not in a snobbish way; it's not that I prefer "films." I think some of the very best visual storytelling is happening on television, compared to movies. It's just that I've become very selective in what I watch.

Earlier this year, I was introduced (via Jenny Crusie's blog, arghink.com) to the now-cancelled tv series, Leverage. I missed it in its original run, because I don't have cable, but I loved the first season (free online) so much that I actually signed up for a streaming service to watch the remaining seasons. Glommed them all in less than a month. That's something like 60 episodes, at the rate of about 3 a night!

There's a BBC series with a similar concept -- con artists with hearts of gold -- that I also loved: Hustle. 

There are several BBC shows that I watch, although generally quite a while after their first airing, when they're available on DVD through my library. I catch up on Dr. Who from time to time, along with Midsomer Murders (a "cozy procedural" series), and Vera (procedural and grim, but fascinating characters). The American shows that I binge-watch on DVD include Justified (the second season with Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett is absolutely brilliant, and Walton Goggins is amazing as the ongoing antagonist) and, yes, it's completely unlike me, and I have to cover my eyes sometime, but I just love The Walking Dead.

For the most part, though, I can take or leave television. Mostly leave. Too many other things I want to be doing, too many stories to tell myself or to read or listen to.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mise en place

There's a concept in cooking that you'll run across if you watch any of the cooking reality shows: mise en place. It translates to "put in place," and basically means getting all the ingredients ready before you start to cook.

When I was younger, I ignored all the cookbook admonitions to gather my ingredients before diving into the recipe. I was too impatient and wanted to get to the good stuff, the mixing and cooking and eating. I raced all over the kitchen, grabbing ingredients as I needed them. 

It worked fine when I had boundless energy. As I get older, though, I don't race anywhere, and cooking has become a chore, rather than a hobby. Now, I find mise en place to be a lifesaver. Except, I do it sort of in slow-motion, or stop-motion. If I'm going to have chicken and rice pilaf for dinner, I'll measure out the rice while my breakfast oatmeal is cooking. Then, whenever I go into the kitchen during the day, I'll chop up a vegetable to go into the rice, or I'll measure out the seasonings. By the time I'm ready to make dinner, I've got all the prep work done, and I can throw everything together in just a few minutes. 

My writing process has evolved similarly. I used to be too impatient to outline or do other pre-writing. As soon as I had the idea, I wanted to get right to the good part, the writing itself. Of course, that usually led to me stalling out at about the 50-page mark, when I'd have to stop and do the outlining, etc. (Some people can keep going without the outline, and I tried, but it never worked for me.) 

Nowadays, I do a lot of pre-writing, which is a lot like mise en place for cooking. I put all the story ingredients in place over the course of a week or two, in small chunks of work, well before I start writing the actual manuscript. I gather together all the basics: the rough plot, the motifs, the recurring characters, the suspects, the setting and the motifs. (It's perhaps no coincidence that I call my process the "pizza method" of plotting.) And then when it comes time to "cook" the ingredients, to write the story, ... well, I won't say it's easy (writing is hard), but it's easier for me than when I had to race around my brain to find all the ingredients, as I was trying to write the story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Author's got a brand new bag

I'm going to the RWA conference in a couple weeks, and I am NOT a good traveler. I start out all organized, and I've got my ticket and my picture ID and everything that needs to be laid out for security checks (like my laptop), all ready. But somehow, by the time I get to the checkpoint, I can't find anything, and I'm struggling with my luggage while being too stubborn and cheap to get some help.

But this time will be different! (I'm always saying that, but I really believe it this time.) I've got a brand new bag, with a main pocket for my ticket and ID and knitting and whatever odds and ends I need at hand while at the airport, and an outer pocket that's exactly the size of my wee little ChromeBook, making for easy access, either for the security check or for actually using it.

It's quilted, made out of scraps in colors that will match any shade of khaki pants I happen to be wearing in warm weather. It's also got an extra-long strap, for wearing the bag messenger-style, freeing up my hands for juggling my luggage.

Front (on top) and back (with ChromeBook peeking out):



Now I have to make a winter-colored one, since I made my last winter one a couple weeks before I got my ChromeBook, and it's about 1/2" too small to hold it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Birthday week!

I'd sort of gotten into the habit of declaring an entire birthday week (the first week of July), instead of limiting the cake and ice cream and fun to just one day.

This year, though, I'm only taking one day (okay, maybe two) to play and eat chocolate and just generally have fun. Apparently, I need to finally grow up and act like an adult, because I've got deadlines.

I can't complain too much, because the deadlines are for finishing more stories featuring Helen Binney. The next installment, A DENIAL OF DEATH, just went to the publisher a few days ago, and I'm taking a week or two to clear my head before starting on the third in the series, tentatively titled, A DEAL OF DEATH. Both are under contract now, with DEAL due to the publisher in January 2015.

But I'll still be working during the weeks between DENIAL and DEAL. Yep, I can finally announce that I have a secret project.

After years and years of reading about my favorite authors working on secret projects, and yearning to know what they were, I now know what it's like to be on the other side of the veil.

It's kinda' fun, actually.

All I can say right now is that it involves Helen Binney. And chocolate.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fresh start, July 2014

Primary WIPs
First draft of Secret Project, details TBA
Begin first draft of A Deal of Death (Helen Binney #3)

Status of other Fiction WIPs
A Debt of Death (Helen Binney #4), cogitating
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), finished
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), first draft done
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed; on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (Crazy Cat Lady series, post-apocalyptic setting), done and polished
Two Cats Are Better Than One (Crazy Cat Lady #2), partial first draft, complete outline
Three's A Clowder (Crazy Cat Lady #3), partial first draft, not much outline
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), still in brainstorming stage

Status of Non-fiction WIPs
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hanging out with my role models

For a while, A DOSE OF DEATH was at the top of Amazon's cozy mystery bestseller list, right next to one of my favorite cozy-mystery authors, Donna Andrews, and on the same page as another favorite, Gemma Halliday:


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Time is relative

Something I learned as a lawyer was that time was different in the court system than in the outside world. A "speedy trial" in criminal cases happens in months, possibly even years, rather than in the days or maybe weeks that a non-lawyer might expect from the term. Getting onto the fast track for a civil trial meant waiting years for a day in court, instead of decades.

In any event, with experience, lawyers learn that nothing happens quickly, and sort of adjust their understanding of time into slow motion.

It's a lesson that's served me well in a publishing industry that's rife with delays and hurry-up-and-wait. The turn-around from the contract for A DOSE OF DEATH to its release yesterday was a nano-second in publishing terms, thanks to my nimble publisher. Of course, that came after years and years of learning my craft and getting (more than) my fair share of rejections.

Now, I'm learning to deal with a different sort of time issue: time shifts between the parallel universes of books on the shelves and books being written.

The first of the Helen Binney mysteries just came out yesterday, so it's brand new for readers. For me, though, it's an old story, something I first came up with several years ago, and finally got into publishable shape last year.

The good news, for those who've been asking about the next installment in the series, is that the sequel has been in the works for a while already. Book #2, tentatively titled A DENIAL OF DEATH, is being polished up to send to the publisher toward the end of this month. Book #3, tentatively titled, A DEAL OF DEATH, has a (really rough) outline.

I thought the series might end as a nice, tidy trilogy, but just as I was thinking that, I had this idea about a new challenge for Helen to face. I'm not sure where the idea will take me, but a friend gave me the working title: A DEBT OF DEATH.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Doin' it Rong (or Rite)

Less than a week until A Dose of Death hits the virtual shelves, and I'm having whatever the opposite of post-partum depression is. Pre-partum hyperactivity?

What if no one likes Helen Binney? I love her, but she is a bit cranky and opinionated. What if no one understands Tate's dry sense of humor and thinks he's just a hard-hearted, evil lawyer? What if all the wonderful nurses I've met over the years blame me for what happens to the nurse in this story?

In other words, what if "Ur Doin' It Rong" applies to everything I've written?

Wait, wait. That's only one side of the argument, and I'm a lawyer, so I should be able to play devil's advocate, right?

Here's the case for my not doin' it Rong. My publisher likes Helen Binney, and she's not the ONLY person to do so. My friends and colleagues are all thrilled for me. My hairdresser fusses over every cowlick and every last strand of hair, because now that I'm a published author, I have to be perfectly coiffed all the time. (Don't tell him what a mess I am when I'm not in his chair.) My local independent bookstore is making a fuss over me (although, to be fair, the owners are great folks, and have always made a fuss over me). I haven't seen a nurse recently, but I'm optimistic that they won't get out their bluntest needle when it's time for my flu shot this fall.

In the end, perhaps some people will indeed think that I did everything Rong in the story and some people will think I did everything (or much of it) Rite, but that's how it goes with a subjective art like storytelling. Some people will like Helen, and some won't. (Although, I do hope there are more who like her than who don't. She's really a very good person beneath the cranky.)

For now, I'm holding onto the fact that reading is an incredibly personal experience, that once you get past the fundamentals of grammar and story structure, there is no definitive Rong or Rite.

Still, I'd feel a lot less nervous if I were confident that Helen's story is as tasty as chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate, right? At least a little?

Don't tell me if I'm Rong about that. I need to believe in something, and chocolate is about the only thing I'm sure of right now.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fresh start, June 2014

Official (not tentative!) release date
A Dose of Death (formerly Nursing A Grudge) (Helen Binney #1), Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 10, 2014

Primary WIPs
Polish A Dash of Death (Helen Binney #2) and write synopsis
Brainstorm and outline A Deal of Death (Helen Binney #3)

Status of other Fiction WIPs
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), finished
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), first draft done
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (Crazy Cat Lady series, post-apocalyptic setting), done and polished
Two Cats Are Better Than One (Crazy Cat Lady #2), partial first draft, complete outline
Three's A Clowder (Crazy Cat Lady #3), partial first draft, not much outline
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), still in brainstorming stage

Status of Non-fiction WIPs
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The most beautiful cover ever!


With thanks to the cover artist.

The book is also available for pre-order here, and will be available at other venues soon.

Back cover copy: As the former governor's wife, Helen Binney is used to being in charge. So when illness and two pushy nieces force her to take on a visiting nurse, Helen uses every trick in the book to slip away from the annoying woman. Only someone must have disliked the nurse even more than Helen, because the woman's dead body shows up the next day in Helen's yard! Now it's up to Helen to prove that not only is she perfectly capable of taking care of herself, she's also perfectly capable of solving one cold-blooded murder. Between the nurse's shady past, an elusive "Remote Control Burglar," and an unlikely partnership with a handsome lawyer, Helen finds herself being drawn into the killer's carefully crafted web. The only question is, can Helen survive a little dose of death?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More fun in 2014

I've been stressing recently, about this, that and the other. It's not good for me, it interferes with my storytelling, and it doesn't even fix the things I'm stressing about.

It's time to remember my motto for the year: More Fun In 2014!

Current fun thing: I've given myself the rest of the month off from deadlines, and spend three weeks dusting off an old book-of-my-heart (actually a series-of-my-heart) to polish it up and find a home for it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A rash of titles

My upcoming release started its life with the abysmal working title of Helen Incriminates Herself. 

It's an accurate summary of the premise for the story (amateur sleuth who tries to prove she DID kill someone, instead of trying to prove she didn't do it), but not exactly catchy. It's more a function of my analytical, legal brain than my storytelling brain.

When it came time to send out queries, where every word matters and needs to be catchy, I had a brilliant inspiration. The protagonist, Helen, is a tad cranky (with good reason), and she's got a nurse who really annoys her (and who subsequently ends up dead). I got to thinking that Helen was nursing a grudge against the nurse, and voila! a title was born: Nursing A Grudge.

Catchy and representative of the story, so we were all set to go with it.

And then came disaster.

It's not uncommon for multiple books to share the same title, but it can get confusing if they share other features that make them difficult to differentiate, like genre and date of release. Generally, it's best if the title hasn't been used in the last year or two, and if the books are in different genres.

At the moment, there are three books on Amazon with this title. One looks to be a legal thriller released in September of last year, another is a traditional mystery released in 2012, and then there's a cozy mystery, released just a few months ago.

The last one rang the death knell for my using the title: same general timeframe for release, same genre, same SUBgenre, and even a similar style of cover (cartoony, rather than a picture or realistic painting).

There's just no easy way to distinguish the two books. I can't say "it's the one released this year," or "the one without any blood on the cover," or "the one that's lighthearted instead of grim." I'm more than happy to support my fellow authors, and I'm sure it's a great book, but I don't want to confuse my readers.

So, brainstorms happened. My faithful betas helped, even when I sent them after a red herring. For a while, I was obsessed with getting the word "pill" into the title, and came up with "A Pill A Day Keeps the Nurse Away." My publisher wisely vetoed that one, and the whole "pill" theme.

And finally we came up with the real title. I'm thinking it's kind of like the trope in fantasy novels, where everyone has a given name and a "real" name, and knowing the "real" name for someone (or something) can be powerful.

So, promise me you won't abuse the power, and I'll introduce you to the story formerly known as Helen Incriminates Herself, briefly referred to as Nursing A Grudge, and now openly celebrated as A Dose of Death.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fresh start, May 2014

Tentative release date:
Novel formerly known as Nursing A Grudge) (Helen Binney #1), Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2014

Primary WIPs:
Brainstorm and outline third in the Helen Binney series 
Brainstorm and outline Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes)

Status of other Fiction WIPs:
Novel f/k/a Seeing Red (Helen Binney #2), complete second draft, going to betas
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), finished
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), first draft done
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (post-apocalyptic cozy mystery series; 4 books outlined), on hold
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)

Status of other Non-fiction WIPs:
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, first post on April 28, and then the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NEC RWA conference

I'll be speaking at the NEC RWA conference on May 2-3 (about Estate Planning for Authors).

With contributions from other Gemma Halliday Publishing authors (and help from a friend to make it look pretty), I put together this basket to be raffled off at the conference:


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Allergy season

Allergy season struck this week. Can't do anything except sniffle, sneeze and sleep.

This is what I get for complaining about the never-ending winter. Spring attacks me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting my hands dirty

Last year, when I was writing a cozy mystery set on a garlic farm, I was obsessed with garlic. I researched varieties, and read the blogs of garlic farmers and sort of combined all the various bits of information into one ideal garlic farm for my character to own.

I do grow my own garlic, enough for three households, and it just so happened that I was working on one of the garlic-farm story's drafts right at planting time (October). I got a little carried away with my planting, as if I were the farmer in the story and needed to produce enough garlic to sell in bulk. In addition to the variety and quantity that I usually plant, I added about six plants of a new variety, and then planted a couple rows (each containing 50 or more plants) of the old variety to test a theory I have about growing them from the bulbils (like seeds, but technically not seeds). And then I still had some left-over bulbils, and I just kind of scattered them in an abandoned part of the garden. We're going to be drowning in garlic this July, although that's not such a bad thing.

And then I started plotting a sequel that will involve rhubarb, and I found out that there are close to 200 named varieties, many of them maintained in test gardens in Palmer, Alaska. Few of these varieties have ever been the subject of any significant breeding programs, so, on behalf of my character, I started daydreaming about establishing a collection of heirloom varieties that could then be tested and improved. 

It's perhaps fortunate that very few of those varieties are available for sale, or instead of six plants (three varieties), including two I bought while researching the story, I'd have as many rhubarb plants as I have of garlic!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fresh start, April 2014

Tentative release date:
Nursing A Grudge, Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2014

Primary WIP:
Third draft: Seeing Red (sequel to Nursing A Grudge)

Fun WIP (for mini vacations from more structured writing):
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), to be outlined

Status of other Fiction WIPs:
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), on submission
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), complete first draft
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (post-apocalyptic cozy mystery series; 4 books outlined), on hold
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)

Status of other Non-fiction WIPs:
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, first post on April 28, and then the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Laffeinated Ink

Some of the authors with Gemma Halliday Publishing will be meeting for virtual coffee breaks at laffeinatedink.com, starting April 1. I'll be bringing my Dr. Pepper every day, and providing the words to go with the caffeine on the fourth Monday of each month.

There will be lots of good stuff at the blog before it's my turn. For one thing, every Tuesday will feature a new release of a book that might be of interest to our readers, with guest posts from the book's author(s). The first one will be by Margaret Breasheares and and Donna Helmedag, the authors of Murder By Paint (humorous romantic suspense). You can read more about the book here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day


I made this years ago, starting with a shamrock block from Quiltmaker magazine, and then adding an "Irish chain" border. It's wallhanging size (about 30" x 40").

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Darlings

A couple months ago, I was killing my darlings (sentences I love, but that pull the reader out of the story), and now I'm happily creating new ones in a new story.

The darling that I really wanted to work in A Stinkin' Plot consisted of night-owl Mabel's reflections on the wisdom of telling a joke at the crack of dawn. She decides not to, because "she firmly believed it was unhealthy to engage in any activity whatsoever before noon, and that was doubly true of drinking hard liquor and delivering punch-lines." 

I guess you had to be there. 

I liked it, but it really had to go.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Fresh start, March 2014

Tentative release date:
Nursing A Grudge, Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2014

Primary WIP:
Finish first draft: A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...)

Fun WIP (for mini vacations from more structured writing):
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), to be outlined

Status of other Fiction WIPs:
Seeing Red (cozy mystery, sequel to Nursing A Grudge), second draft complete
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), on submission
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (post-apocalyptic cozy mystery series; 4 books outlined), on hold
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)

Status of other Non-fiction WIPs:
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Guest blog posts
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rare Disease Day

Rare Disease Day - February 28, 2014

This is Rare Disease Week, culminating in the official Rare Disease Day on Friday. 

You can read more about it here and here and here

I'm participating in events in D.C. this week, to help raise awareness of the challenges for both medical researchers and the patients with rare disease.