This Week: Is It Spring Yet?

Daytlna-500-Danica-Patrick-poleThe skies have been a little gloomy in my slice of the Hudson Valley, but if it’s time for Daytona and the Oscars, spring can’t be far behind. Although I’m not having as good a week as Danica Patrick, it’s still pretty sweet around here.

  • I don’t know if you caught this, but the lovely and effervescent Dames of Dialogue let me stop in for tea and a chat.
  • Have you heard of Baby Boomer Lit? With America’s largest age cohort knocking on the doors of, well, aging, this is a genre whose time may have come. Author Claude Nougat, on the heels of her new book, A Hook in the Sky, has started not only a Goodreads group devoted to the idea but also possibly a movement. Lynnette Schneider, a book blogger and member of this group, gave Don’t Tell Anyone a very nice five-star review.

Lots going on with the Indies Unlimited crew to report.

  • The rockin’ fabulous K.S. Brooks has been very active with Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, you can hear what she’s been up to and how you may be able to help.
  • Krista Tibbs posted this terrific article, showing us how the old writing canard, “show, don’t tell” actually works.
  • Our resident scam-buster, Rich Meyer, stirred up some interesting discussion about crowdfunding for indie writing projects. What do you think? Practical method of fundraising or begging for dollars?
  • Science fiction author and all-around nice guy Chris James just published the second novel in his Second Internet Café series, The Second Internet Cafe, Part 2: The Cascade Annihilator. If you’d like to grab yourself a free copy, check out his website for details.

Last but not least, in one week I’ll be trying not to panic taking Don’t Tell Anyone out for its first public appearance, at The Golden Notebook, a local independent bookstore in Woodstock, New York, where I launched The Joke’s on Me. Jackie and Nan, the lovely women who run the place, are great to support local indie authors. If you’re in the area (Saturday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m.), I’d love to see you!

I hope YOU had a good week!


The DREAM BIG Blog Hop

Here’s the pitch, courtesy of Cody Martin:

“Writing is largely solitary, and sometimes a lonely endeavor. Sure, you talk to friends, experts for research, discuss what works and what doesn’t with your editor, and bounce ideas off of fellow writers. But in the end it’s one person pounding the keyboard or twirling the pencil. But what if it didn’t have to be completely alone? Who would YOU work with if you could work with anyone on your favorite project?

“In this post, that’s what I’m asking. Choose a person for each category and tell why you want to work with them. If you want, feel free to post their picture, a piece of their work, or a link to something about them. The only rule is that the person must still be alive.

“Writers dream. Now it’s time to dream BIG.”

1. You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist. If you write children’s books or books that are heavily illustrated, who would you get for the interior artwork?

Illustration by Elwood Smith

Illustration by Elwood Smith

This may give me marital tsuris because my husband is a fantastic illustrator. If he is not available, I want my next cover done by Elwood Smith. He’s a local guy. I met him once, and worked frequently with his partner, Maggie, on some projects. His illustrations are quirky and done with a great sense of humor and style. When he addressed a networking group I used to belong to, someone asked why his little characters often wore hats. He shrugged and said, “I don’t know how to draw hair.” Gotta love a guy who says that.

DownloadedFile2. Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

I want to co-write my next novel with Janet Evanovich. Because she’s funny. I need to write some humor right now. Very badly. The universal forces that supply me with novels to write are apparently not complying with my request to lighten up a bit.

janeane-garofalo3. Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they’re not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

Sweet. I want Janeane Garafolo to narrate The Joke’s on Me. She has the perfect sarcastic bite without becoming insufferable after a few hours.

4. They’re really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

Yikes, I don’t know. I don’t think much about music when I write. Suggestions, anyone?

5. Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

Jason Reitman. Because I loved Juno. I think he’d do a good job with Drawing Breath.


6. The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

I’ve always pictured Kathy Bates as Jude, Frankie’s sister, in The Joke’s on Me.

7. You’ve been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?

I’m dying to know how things worked out for Harry and Sally. You know that honeymoon has to end sometime. Probably the three hundred and tenth time she asks for her salad dressing on the side.

8. It’s the anniversary of your favorite literary character’s debut. You’ve been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?

Anna Karenina. But this time, she pushes her husband under the train.

Tag, Ellie Mack. You’re it.

Flash Fiction!

ff2012-ebook-leather-713x1024My writing-self felt a little creaky and stiff this week, so I entered Indies Unlimited‘s weekly flash fiction contest. A new prompt goes up every Saturday, and it’s a great chance to play around with the 250-word challenge and bust up a few of those mental cobwebs.

In fact, this flash fiction contest is so cool that IU’s masterminds Stephen Hise and KS Brooks took all of last year’s winning pieces and published them in an anthology. So many great little stories in one place; some of my friends like Ed Drury, Rich Meyer, JD Mader, and David Antrobus were multiple winners. I think I even have one in there somewhere about a rainy night and an angry little white dog.

Anyway, here’s this week’s entry. It’s not in the 2012 anthology, but if it wins this week (voting starts on Wednesday), it will be in next year’s!


Help Wanted

Mike sneezed as the cloud of patchouli incense assaulted his sinuses. “Hello?” He fished a tissue out of his pocket. “You advertised for a groomer?”

An old dude with a gray ponytail and a Warren Zevon T-shirt popped out from the back, drying his hands on a towel. “Namaste,” he growled. “Sorry about the ambiance. It’s the only thing that covers up the wet dog smell. Keeps the neighbors from complaining. It’s not gonna be a problem, is it?”

Mike shook his head and sneezed again.

“Most people get used to it.” The guy eyeballed him, one brow climbing his forehead. “No offense, brother, but you look kind of puny for this work. Some of these critters pack serious poundage.”

“I had a bunch of Irish wolfhounds at my last gig,” Mike said.

“Wolfhounds. Funny.” Crooking a hand, he gestured for Mike to follow him into the back. “They can smell fear. So be cool.”

“Be cool?” Mike said. “I love dogs.”

The dude smirked as he pulled back the curtain. “Just remember that.”

Mike gaped. There was a big tub. And one giant cage. Eight hounds paced a restless loop, softly whimpering. Their variegated coats blended and swirled as they moved under the dim lights.

“They like to stay together. Pack animals.” He turned to Mike. “So when can you start?”

One hound bared a glistening fang. “Uh, right away?”

“Groovy. We’d better hurry, though.” In the shadows, the dude’s eyes seemed to glow. “There’s a full moon tonight.”

Why Would Anyone Want to Read a Novel about Cancer?

Ballet-2When I write the first draft of a novel, I normally don’t think much about marketing. I tell the story that falls into my head, the one that has the most energy and won’t leave me alone until I finish writing. And then I think about how to sell it.

Even while I was writing Don’t Tell Anyone, which I’d titled The C Word at the time, I knew I’d face some serious challenges once I published it. But I still felt compelled to complete the novel and release it, hoping it would find an audience, secretly terrified that even if it came out well-written, thought-provoking, insightful or whatever good adjective you want to plunk on it, people would hear the word “cancer” and run. Continue reading