Blog hops, other writers, chain letters and writing process dirt on me

Ok, so Cindy Sample sucked me into doing what appears to be a blog hop but which I now think might be a blog chain letter. (She is, nevertheless, awesome. See her blog below and read her novels—a hoot.) But I promised so here’s my answer to the four questions:

 

What am I working on/writing?

 

The fourth book in the Underdead series. Devious plotting going on here. I’d normally want to put a teaser in here, but I’m not a stage where I want to talk about the book I’m working on. I want to write it.

How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?

 

I write curl-up-on-the-couch mysteries–the sort that make you giggle and forget a bad day. This, naturally, means that I write about vampires and murder. And when I’m not writing about vampires and murder (the Underdead books) I’m writing about demons (Crimson in the Very Wrong Fairy Tale). I love a strong heroine who, when life goes sideways, can muster up a sense of humor and have the courage to carry on (and, when necessary, the good sense to run fast in the other direction).

 

Why do I write what I do?

I am fascinated by interstices. I even like the word. I had to learn the definition in eleventh grade English class and it was one of those words that made me stop resenting the assignment (I loathe memorizing lists of things) and instead stop and think. Actually, it was more of a wander, which is often the best sort of think. (Here you go, look it up if you didn’t have to memorize the same list as I did. We’ll wait. La la la la la.) Anywho, I am endlessly fascinated by the disconnection between what is expected and what may actually show up

I don’t know about you, but my life has not gone according to any known plan and I’ve never had the sort of adult life promised me by the TV shows I watched growing up. (Like living in a gorgeous loft and hanging out in coffee shops with friends. Dreamy sigh.) I taught and went to grad school and lived in tiny rathole apartments and went to coffee shops as a treat–to study and grade papers when my apartment seemed to close in on me.) But I loved it. Why is that?

I am endlessly compelled to write about heroines whose lives go cattywampus in a way that makes them want to go back to bed and pull the covers back over their head. But they don’t. (Well, maybe they do for a bit, but eventually they rise up and grow and find a way to fight back.) And I love that. Why do I write paranormal? Because it adds something unexpected to the mix that keeps me guessing and entertained and laughing.

How does my writing process work?

 

I do a lot of plotting and mind mapping (drawing large branching things out on paper) before I write, because I like books that have more than one official genre going on (e.g., Underdead is a humorous cozy murder mystery with a love triangle, and vampires). I start with long plotting sessions with a writer buddy who loves the books and has a devious mind and the gift of straightforward honesty. When I get stuck, I go on hikes and work them through. Or I talk through plot tangles with my sister (typically this means we we hike together and she entertains herself by making me talk on the uphill parts). And then I lock myself somewhere and write. And I do things like clean the bathroom with a toothbrush to procrastinate motivate myself to write more. And then I edit. And write. And edit. There is a lot of chocolate consumed when I write.

I’m not sure if the expectation now was for me to pass the hop on to two more writers, but since she forgot to tell me that point, I’m going to NOT keep the hop going forward and instead direct you BACKWARDS. So go check out Cindy Sample if you haven’t already, and then check out Diana Orgain and then Heather Haven and….

Blatant thievery–Repost of Cindy Sample’s blog today

This is lifted directly from Cindy’s site today (fine, yes, with her permission). We’re hopping from her site to mine next week, talking about our writing processes. I’ve literally cut and paste her blog into mine and am frankly testing out how well that slapdash of a plan works. So here ’tis! Over to Cindy!

Have you ever wondered how authors write their books? Heather Haven, a hysterically funny mystery author, asked me to participate in a blog hop devoted to how writers go through their process of writing. New writers frequently ask me for the secret to how they should write. The secret is that there is no secret. All writers eventually develop their own style and a process that works for them. Even though I’m almost finished with the fourth book in my Laurel McKay mysteries, my own writing process has continued to evolve. I’m far more efficient now than when I started. However, one thing remains constant for every author I know – we can find 101 ways to procrastinate. The other constant is that tenacity is our middle name.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON AT PRESENT?

I am eighty percent finished with the first draft of Dying for a Dude. Part of my growth was learning to be comfortable with that “sh***y” first draft that author extraordinaire Anne Lamott discussed in her book, Bird by Bird. Once I realized that every one of the 80,000 words in my first draft could be revised (and they frequently are) I felt free to explore the many paths my protagonist wants to take. I still marvel at the magic that occurs when my fingers hit the keyboard each day.

Please note my laptop is on my wet bar, conveniently located next to the wine refrigerator!

HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN ITS GENRE?

I specialize in what one reviewer referred to as “feel good” humor. My protagonist, Laurel McKay, is a thirty-nine-year old single soccer mom, the kind of woman you want to have as your best friend. She has plenty of foibles, but she is a decent person, intent on raising her kids properly. Eventually she hopes to settle down with that special man, the one who makes her heart and body sing. Of course, I keep messing with Laurel, forcing her to stumble over a dead body here and there. But if it wasn’t for those dead bodies, Laurel would never have met Detective Tom Hunter. I feel it’s important to have several relevant themes going on in the book as well as a basic whodunit mystery, all of which will enrich the reader’s experience.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

Every day we hear about heartbreaking stories or tragic events that have occurred, sad tales of loss and despair. We all need something to brighten our day and that is part of my mission. While I love to solve a good puzzle myself, I also want people to enjoy an occasional laugh-out-loud moment when they are reading one of my mysteries. Many people have purchased my books as gifts for friends coming out of the hospital. The only requirement is that the patient does not read them until their stitches have been removed.

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Process? I’m supposed to have a process? Come closer while I share a secret. I don’t write every day. Gasp! Except for emails so maybe that counts. In the early years, I was known as a binge writer. No, that doesn’t refer to the excessive amount of Kit Kat bars I consumed. My preference is still to carve out a week where I can write all day and night, with no social or author events to distract me. I can produce ten to fourteen pages daily in that type of immersion environment. I’ve also learned to treat my writing as a profession, so most days I churn out from two to six pages. Then there are the annoying days when I delete more words than I add. It’s all part of the process.

As far as plotting, every author occasionally reaches a point where he or she is stumped. I find it helps to plot and plod. I walk around the house with my cat, Zoey from the Bronx, following right behind me. I call this my creative exercise program. But it works for me. Then if I’m still in a plotting funk, I go look at open houses. Seriously –– whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing! Chocolate works wonders to fuel your word count!

I would love to know more about your writing process, or any other creative endeavor. Leave a comment by June 22nd and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Next week two of my favorite humorous mystery authors will discuss their writing process. Check them out.

LIZ JASPER writes curl-up-on-the-couch-with-chocolate paranormal humorous mysteries. Her first novel, Underdead, about a science teacher who is turned almost into a vampire, won the 2008 EPPIE Award for Best Mystery. The sequel was Underdead In Denial, The third in the series, Underdead with a Vengeance, is a new release. She also has published the first novel in a humorous demon princess trilogy for teens. Liz is currently working on the next book in her Underdead series. Visit her at http://www.lizjasper.com.

DIANA ORGAIN is the bestselling author of the Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Bundle of Trouble, Motherhood is Murder, Formula for Murder, and Nursing a Grudge. She is the co-author of GILT TRIP the next book in the NY Times Bestselling Scrapbooking Mystery Series by Laura Childs. Diana’s new Reality TV Mystery series will be published by Penguin in Spring 2015. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Visit her at http://www.dianaorgain.com.

Mayday! Mayday! Booklover’s buffet party tomorrow, May 1, 2014–great indy book finds!

Join yours truly and a bunch of great authors tomorrow when we have a Facebook party 3-10 EST!

Welcome to the Booklovers’ Buffet.

The Buffet will be open to the public on May 1, 2014.

To celebrate, we’re hosting a Facebook party, also on May 1 from 3-10 PM, Eastern Standard Time. Please join us for lots of fun and prizes from more than 50 participating authors.

Facebook Party here

Special for those in bad weather or happy it’s Friday for any reason at all

It’s wet and I’m on a train hurtling toward San Francisco with the blistering speed of a snail moving through syrup. (Oh look. The fat snail seems to be taking an impromptu nap somewhere random alongside the freeway. No, no, let’s not strain ourselves and try to get anyone to their jobs before the day ends.) We’ve had rain on and off since Wednesday and it has stressed out the system like a bad 80′s perm. It is that bad.

If your day is anything like this, you need to escape with a good book and I here for you! Mystery, vampires, suspense, humor. Underdead is on special for $0.99. Grab your junk food of choice (my current is chocolate chips out of the bag) and read! And if you already know and love the Underdead books, tell a friend now while the first one in the series is sale. (And write a review. Thanks to those who have taken the time to share their reviews.)

(I’m stuck in a tunnel now. A solid 500 feet ahead of where I was when I started this. Mad progress.)

http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/

(A hero is a man who eschews his seat on a crowded slow train! Thank you hero with the wet bike and the yellow slicker!)

Wanna see the ad? Oooooooh!

http://wp.me/p2b82w-5v1

Direct link to Amazon. http://smarturl.it/cnvla2

May your day be full of Heros, good books, scrumptious snacks, and warm and dry!

Fun at the YWCA 20th Annual Festival of Women’s authors

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Yesterday I had a great time speaking (I spoke first and as usual got in two hours of info in my 45 minutes of rapid fire talking on the podium–and that includes all the time we spent laughing–SUCH a wonderful group of readers) and signing books at the Y fundraiser.

As part of the event, I spent the day with three wonderful authors and now that I know them and their work better, I am eager to share with you all some great writers that might be new to you:

Patricia Bracewell, author of the critically acclaimed historical fiction Shadow on the Crown–very funny speaker, her work makes history come alive and, yes, even has a ghost in it
(Picture below of Pat and me tired and laughing the end of the day)

Kelly Corrigan, NYT bestselling author of Lift and The Middle Place–get the audio versions when she does the reading, hilarious and real

Anjuelle Floyd, a reader’s favorite, author of The House and Keeper of Secrets–a true artist, her work finds your emotional core

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Come join me at the 20th Annual Festival of Women’s Authors, February 1, 2014

If you will be in the SF Bay Area on Saturday, Febrary 1, 2014 (and are a woman), come join me and three other local authors for lunch, author presentations, and book signings at H’s Lordships on the Berkeley Marina. Proceeds benefit students and the local community.
Joining me will be these three wonderful authors:

Patricia Bracewell, author of the critically acclaimed historical fiction Shadow on the Crown

Kelly Corrigan, NYT bestselling author of Lift and The Middle Place

Anjuelle Floyd, a reader’s favorite, author of  The House and Keeper of Secrets

For more information and to register, please visit the Berkeley/Alameda YMCA. I guarantee it will be interesting and fun!

Underdead with a Vengeance ebook is available now at Amazon!

If you don’t want to read my blog and want to read the book, you can get it here.

Some people already swooped in (seriously, I was in full stealth–how did they find out???) within minutes of it going live and bought it which was great except I was (brilliantly) finding and (ditto) fixing a weird bug in that randomly make some letters in chapter headings smaller case. (If you you got a funky copy before I found out and fixed it–and don’t want to be one of the few with the “interesting” chapter headings please email me and I’ll make it right for you.)

Woohoo! I am doing a rolling launch, which means that the print book will be available soon from the usual sources (Amazon, B&N) and the ebook will soon be available at more places (itunes, B&N, etc.) I will update as they become available.

And I am celebrating by eating chocolate chips straight from the bag! (Don’t knock it.)

Here is the back cover blurb:

Science teacher Jo Gartner staked the dangerously attractive vampire who turned her almost undead, and his minions haven’t come after her for revenge.

Why not?

Who cares. She has everything under control.

Except she’s not sure Will is really dead dead.

And Detective Gavin Raines, her vampire-hunting crush, has popped back in her life to investigate an odd string of murders…and maybe finally ask her out on a real date.

At least her her teaching job is straightforward. Or rather it was before the world’s most perfect teacher joins the staff and seems to be noticing that her vampire traits are, well, a lot more apparent than she’d like them to be.

Caught between two worlds and fitting into neither, Jo must risk it all to take her own path–before the next person dead is her.

Not undead, merely…underdead

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World’s ugliest tat… And edits done

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I went to a very cool holiday party and THIS was the least ugly tattoo I could get. It is getting better looking with age, kinda weather beaten from the shower. In a few mor days all that will be left is the big yellow teeth. But Underdead with a Vengeance should be out before then. Some people use an hour glass to hit a deadline. I’m using an ugly temporary red dragon tattoo. I think my way will sweep the nation.

Coming December, 2013, the long-awaited third novel in the Underdead vampire mystery series!

Not undead, merely…underdead

Science teacher Jo Gartner staked the dangerously attractive vampire who turned her almost undead, and his minions haven’t come after her for revenge.

Why not?

Who cares. She has everything under control.

Except she’s not sure Will is really dead dead.

And Detective Gavin Raines, her vampire-hunting crush, has popped back in her life to investigate an odd string of murders…and maybe finally ask her out on a real date.

At least her her teaching job is straightforward. Or rather it was before the world’s most perfect teacher joins the staff and seems to be noticing that her vampire traits are, well, a lot more apparent than she’d like them to be.

Caught between two worlds and fitting into neither, Jo must risk it all to take her own path–before the next person dead is her.

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