Monday, November 28, 2016

Henery Express Giveaway Train!



Hop on the HENERY EXPRESS GIVEAWAY TRAIN! We’ve got 45 authors joined together for a chance to win $1500 in prizes!

My stop on the Giveaway Train: I’m giving away a cute kitten calendar for 2017 and all three Fat Cat books with bookmarks insert your giveaway prize here). It’s so easy to enter, but please read instructions carefully.

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment below – it’s that simple. (Any comment: Enter me! Or All Aboard! Or Happy Cyber Monday!)

Giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. on Nov 28. Feel free to share, like, or tag your friends – the more, the merrier!

Winner for my giveaway will be chosen at random and announced on my page on Nov 29. Thanks for stopping by – and good luck! (P.S. Like my page to stay posted on future giveaways and other fun stuff.)

NEXT STOP: Gigi Pandian (http://on.fb.me/1HbkIWH) – visit for another giveaway

FIRST STOP: Henery Press (http://on.fb.me/1lx8Vbg) – visit to enter the first giveaway and to see a full list of participating authors

Fine Print: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering, Entrants agree to a complete release of Facebook.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!




We’re so lucky. It’s time to count our blessings and I have many.

*Dinner tomorrow with family, including a big turkey and—most importantly, mashed potatoes. OK, even more importantly, grandchildren.

*My faithful readers, reviewers, and fans.

*The mystery writing community—a bunch of the nicest people I could ever have hoped to fall in with. Many thanks for the camaraderie, support, and understanding.

*Living in a country that is still, in spite of many failings, a good place to live. It’s way better than being in Syria right now, for instance.

*My health (for my age, as my doctors always say, bless their hearts).

*My thumb surgery, which will alleviate my pain and make it more useful so I can write more books.

*The beautiful place where I live, which will recover from the current drought and wildfire smoke and be beautiful again because, again, there are grandchildren here. AND another set not too far away.

*The fact that, as Hubby and I often marvel, we have three children who are all healthy and happy and like each other and even like us.

*The corollary to the above, that we have seven marvelous grandchildren, each one a delight in their own way.

I hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day, or as one movement wants to declare, Mashed Potatoes Day.



Images from Morguefile.com


Friday, November 11, 2016

Moving On and Not Moving On. Yet.



I’m going to post a personal essay, not related to my writing. This will probably be the only one on this blog unless other unforeseen things happen.

I’m a liberal, a progressive. With over half the voters in this country in shock, the majority who voted for Secretary Clinton, the atmosphere in this country has turned toxic to us. Many of us worked hard for her victory, which, the polls assured us, was imminent. Some of us donated money, made phone calls, went door to door, even did texting campaigns. Others of us spoke up whenever and wherever we could. We worked hard. And this has hit us hard.

Beyond the loss, this is what has elevated my dismay. Some are using their victory to spread the messages of hate and violence. I’ve read of school children being taunted and beaten up for their dress or their race. The KKK is openly celebrating. These things would not have happened a few months ago. Those of us who are mourning are grieving for the loss of civility as well as the dream of electing a capable woman president who would have worked for the ones being tormented.

But that’s not why I’m writing this blog today. It’s self-serving, certainly, but I hope these words can help some others who are grieving. My therapists have always said that the antidote to my depressions is writing. So I feel I have to write about this in an attempt not to slide into a pit so deep that it will take months to crawl back out of.


There are many calling for action, saying it’s time to get over “this” and to move on. I’m glad they’re able to do this. But many of us can’t.

We are grieving the loss of a bright future, one we were looking forward to. The sunshine is a bit dim. The birds don’t sing cheerfully, but annoyingly. In the state where I live, Tennessee, many votes went to TP. I know that some of my neighbors voted for them because they displayed signs in their yards. I don’t want to speak to them for a good long while. I wave when I see them and keep walking. Going to the hairdresser, chatting with the grocery checkout people, even sitting next to people in church—it’s all awkward. I don’t know if they voted for the ones who have wounded me and my friends or not. This will prevent me from “getting over” this very quickly.

Here’s the main thing I want to say. Everyone has to deal with this tragedy in ones’ own way. None are the right way for all and none are the wrong way for those doing them.

Some will quickly spring back and go into action. I know one woman who has vowed to do a good deed every day and has already stared by contributing to causes that will benefit those who may be disenfranchised in the near future.

Others will get through the anger and the grief in a few days and will recover enough to function normally.

Still others will take longer. Many writers I know are unable to write now on their projects. Many have posted long, eloquent essays on their feelings, their actions, what they see as consequences of hatred for so many. Others point out catastrophes that may happen in the near future, such as the actual repeal of Roe v Wade, which will send women back to coat hangers; the repeal or gutting of the Affordable Care Act, which will actually be a death sentence for some and will cause others to emigrate; stripping of hard-won rights for gays—several I know are moving abroad and I probably would, too, if I were them; persecution of many races, cultures, and religions in this country which was founded by emigrants for emigrants (to the detriment of the natives, to be sure, who will also not gain anything but will probably lose even more).


Those writers have poured out their battered feelings, most of them better than I can. But this is my therapy here and now.

I went to bed on November 8th in denial, even though the numbers were telling me the story. I awoke to anger and stayed there several days. In fact, that part isn’t gone yet. I’m still in the grieving stage, crying whenever I’m alone and giving way to hopelessness and despair. This is melodramatic, you say? Then you don’t suffer from clinical depression, lucky you. That’s the way we get, melodramatic. It’s certainly not what we want to be doing!

I want to say, to those of you who are still suffering, that you need to let the process take the time it needs. You need to let yourself heal at your own rate, no matter how long it takes. When you come out on the other side, the sun will sparkle and the birds will cheer you with their trills and warbles.

It’s my hope that everyone will be over the stun and shock and depression by January. And that we will all work together to make this country a better place. I plan to support a few causes. I would like to do more, but there’s only so much cash. My choices are Planned Parenthood, NARAL, RAINN, and the Sierra Club.

Here’s a list that I won’t vouch for, except the ones I know.

And here’s a site validating the grief.

I wish for healing for everyone.
Luke 23:34

Weeping Angel phot by at Morguefile.com
Hole phot by at Morguefile.com

Statue of Liberty photo by at Morguefile.com 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Out for the Count


Not for too long, I hope! Tuesday (yesterday), I had thumb surgery (if all went as planned—writing this a tad early). Turns out keyboarding is kind of a tough way to make a living. Should have dug ditches, I think. I’m having two joints repaired on my left thumb. If you get my newsletter, you already know about this, but if you don’t, here’s why I might be absent online for a bit. I’m having tightrope surgery on the lower joint (sounds kind of exciting, no?) and some other surgery on the upper one, the one at the base of my visible thumb. This will be my first ever experience with a tightrope, not having the best balance in the world.
 


Here are "befores" of my poor left thumb. I should start PT after 4 weeks of immobilized healing and it’s a 4-6 months total recovery period. THEN, I get the right one done. "After" pix will be the, I guess. I hope my hands look more normal after all of this.

So, in a year I should have very good thumbs! Wish my surgeon luck!



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Good Times in Atlanta


 On Saturday, four of us short story writers presented an all-day workshop for the Atlanta Sisters in Crime chapter at the DeKalb library. Bob Mangeot, Paula Benson, Debra Goldstein, and I covered every topic we could think of, from plotting to submitting.

Here's Debra urging us to rev up the conflict


Giving presentations with others, like this, is much less nerve-wracking than going solo. I had a lot of fun and I think the others did, too. The audience was awesome: attentive, responsive, and appreciative. Many of them told me afterward that they were energized to return home and write short stories. Some even said the talks would help them with their novels.

Paula and I talking about short story structure and plot


Also, I learned new things from the others, and was equally inspired!

Lisa Malice, the president of the chapter, hosted Paula and me in her lovely Marietta home, which made the stay even better! That woman can hostess! And cook.

I thank the chapter for having us and for Debra who, I believe, organized us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Word Search: Death on the Trek

Please enjoy this word search game based on the second People of the Wind prehistory mystery.


Death on the Trek search
AGNEGNIDOOLFRAG 
DCDENISOVANPEGK 
YPPREHISTORYWAB 
YHSTARVATIONQSG 
RTRFTNODOTPYLGG 
EOZQXLBEARCLAWA 
TLAHTREDNAENWKA 
SSPRONOUNCEMENT 
YEGASSAPMAMMOTH 
MTRNODOTSAMGOTC 


MAMMOTH
MASTODON
GLYPTODONT
NEANDERTHAL
DENISOVAN
PREHISTORY
MYSTERY
ENGA
TOG
BEARCLAW
PASSAGE
PRONOUNCEMENT
FLOODING
STARVATION
SLOTH
SAGA
The novel is available at these places: 
EBOOK:
PAPERBACK & HARDCOVER:
Books A Million (paperback)
Books A Million (hardcover)
ALSO AVAILABLE AT INGRAM

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Guest: J.R. Lindermuth and Starting Your Fiction

My online friend, J.R. Lindermuth, is my guest today, talking about beginnings. Read on for some great tips!



Your first sentence should draw the reader in. The second should compel him to continue reading.

That isn't sage advice from some great writing seer. It's my admonishment to myself as I begin each new story or novel. I've been using it since a reviewer said she was "hooked after page three" about an earlier book.

Page three is too darned late to hook most readers.

People have short attention spans and we writers need to perk their curiosity from the beginning. And the best way to accomplish it is with an opening that inspires "who,""what" or "why?"

Richard Wrights great novel "Native Son" (1940) begins with:

Brrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigg!

The second line is taken up with explaining it's the sound of an alarm clock, which diminishes the impact. I don't think it would work today. Modern readers are not patient critters.

On the other hand, Elmore Leonard's opening for "Glitz" (1985)  begins:

The night Vincent was shot he saw it coming.

Now who wouldn't want to know more about that?

I hope I've accomplished something similar for Shares The Darkness with “She didn’t come home last night.” You know someone's missing. Hopefully you'll want to know why?

Here's the blurb for my latest, Shares The Darkness, seventh in the Sticks Hetrick crime series:

Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.

When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, as she searches for clues.

As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.

Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.

Bio: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth has published 14 novels and a non-fiction regional history. His short stories and articles have been published in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and is a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Links:
Webpage: http://www.jrlindermuth.net
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth
FB: https://www.facebook.com/john.lindermuth
FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/John-Lindermuth-175253187537/?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrlindermuth
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005496.J_R_Lindermuth
His books are available from http://torridbooks.com/
http://www.simonandschuster.com/search/books/_/N-/Ntt-lindermuth
Barnes & Noble and from other fine bookstores.