Monday, July 21, 2014

The Cave of Wonders

                          By: Maegan Beaumont

Lately, I've had a lot of people question me on my writing process. 
How I write (with my hands). How I choose to write what I write (I don't... it kinda chooses me). How much I write on a given day (It depends. I set a personal goal of 700 words a day. Sometimes I barely make it. Sometimes I quadruple it.) 

But without fail, someone always asks this question:

Where do you write?

In the spirit of full disclosure... I can write anywhere. But that doesn't mean all writing spaces are created equal. I've been known to stay in bed all day with my laptop and my dog and I can do that just as easily as I can set up at the dining room table.

But when I'm really looking to bank some major words, I head to my writing cave. It's kinda like the Bat Cave only there's no bats and no butler who brings me tea and cleans my grappling hook.

My desk is way too small and my chair has seen better days but this is where the magic happens.
Any writer worth their salt is a voracious reader. This is how I justify hiding in my cave and reading when I should be doing laundry.

No cave is complete without a dog and access to coffee. 

So there it is--the answer to where... just don't ask me why because that's something I haven't quite figured out.

Maegan Beaumont is the author of SACRIFICIAL MUSE, the second book in the award-winning Sabrina Vaughn thriller series. A native Phoenician, Maegan's stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on. When she isn't busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.

"... Sacrificial Muse is heart pounding intrigue at its very best. A fast paced, exciting read that I couldn’t put down." - Book Chatter

Monday, July 14, 2014

How OCD Are You?

by Shannon Baker

In the famous words of W.C Fields, “Go away kid, you bother me.”

I’m closing in on a novel I started about a year ago. I haven’t been working on it all year, though. I wrote a couple of chapters and an outline, then turned my attention to another genre and cranked out two books. Those books are living in an undisclosed location under an assumed name.

In April I returned to this book. For a while I wrote like a sane person. I completed a draft, planned revisions, contracted an editor and we set a deadline. I can meet that deadline with certainty by working a challenging, yet rational schedule.

However, I lost my tenuous grip on reality four days ago. After a relaxing week of vacation with my guy, kayaking, hiking, cycling, camping in the Rocky Mountains, I headed down to Tucson. I have a ten-day stay planned in which I would inspect some work done on the house while we were gone, make some decisions on other house improvements and finish the revisions on my book. In the meantime, I wanted to trip up to Scottsdale to support fellow MI author, Maegan Beaumont with her release of Sacrificial Muse. All laid back and easy.

Somewhere in day two, I boarded the crazy train. Left to my own devices, with no one to expect company at meals or conversation over coffee, or to generally behave like a normal human, my engine heated up and I can’t seem to cool it down. I finished the revisions yesterday and now I’m filling holes and patching cracks. I can’t have a phone conversation because I’m distracted with my characters’ motivation and if I remembered to add that clue.

My neighbor, the sweetest woman in the world, is excited I’m here this week and has engaged me whenever I slip out front for any reason. I try to be friendly but I want to ignore her and run back to my computer. She invited me over for a cookout today and I am so irritated I have to interrupt my flow I feel like declining. But I didn’t. I even mixed up my killer Three-Bean Salad.

Then I had to stop a chapter spit and polish because my alert popped up that I have a blog post due tomorrow and as I’m writing, this happened:

I assume it was one of those desert thermals that landed on my house, because I had those pages anchored down. None-the-less, that’s the latest draft spread across the floor. And you know what? I’m not stopping to pick it up because I have two hours before the cookout and I have to finish this blog and get back to the edit.

 I should do yoga and I’ve got to pay some bills. And I have until the end of the month to finish this book and it’s very close to being done but I want to have time to read it out loud and I think I should send it to a beta reader or two and what if they think it doesn’t work and I wonder if I ought to change the part where the killer laughs and her motivation isn’t clear in the second part and, oh my god, I forgot she smashed her nose on the steering wheel in chapter 27 so people need to react to all that blood on her face in chapter 28….

This is why I shouldn’t do a private writer’s retreat. I need someone to speak slowly and maintain eye contact and tell me to step away from the manuscript.  

Tell me I’m not alone in this wacked-out behavior. Just how OCD are you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Joy of Writing

It feels a bit odd and sad to me indirectly following Deborah Sharp's wonderful farewell blog here on InkSpot.  I definitely wish her well.  And I hope she gets back to writing soon, if that's what works best for her.  If not, it's been fun InkSpotting with her!

Her post got me to thinking.  Would I ever do something similar, like saying goodbye, taking a hiatus from writing?

I don't think so.  In fact, I'm delighted to have a writing career since I never have to stop.  I can keep on making things up forever!

I did have several other careers in my life.  I started out in advertising and public relations, then went to law school.  My legal career lasted a long time, segueing from a law firm to an in-house counsel position, to doing projects for other attorneys.  Those projects dried up when the economy tanked.  I'd already become a published author by then, so rather than looking too hard for another full-time law job, I became a full-time writer.

And that's where I am today.  I'm delighted that my new Superstition Mysteries series will debut soon from Midnight Ink.  LOST UNDER A LADDER will be an October 2014 release.  I'm additionally working on a second series for MI, and am also still writing romances for two Harlequin series.

Which all means that I spend a lot of time writing.  Everyone has different goals in their lives, and mine usually include taking the many ways my imagination goes and sticking the most interesting stuff in stories.

But that's not right for everyone, and I recognize that.  I may feel thrilled and privileged to be a writer, but as with any kind of career, some people may love it and others not so much.

I'm just grateful for my imagination and for those who enjoy reading the results!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


By Maegan Beaumont

Check out Midnight  Ink's Fabulous July Releases!!

The White Magic Five & Dime
By: Steve HockensmithLisa Falco 
A Tarot Mystery #1

 Starred Review"Cozy readers with a taste for humor will welcome this hilarious series debut . . . [and] will eagerly await the next installment." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW)

"...A fast paced exciting read that I couldn’t put down. Sacrificial Muse is heart pounding intrigue at its very best." -- My Book Chatter 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adieu, Y'all!

By Deborah Sharp 

After blogging here at Inkspot for six years, it's time for me to say goodbye. Lots of water under the bridge since one of my first posts, way back in the summer of 2008. I was eagerly -- nervously! -- awaiting publication of my first book, Mama Does Time.

I was a newly minted Midnight Ink author, and thrilled to be asked to blog with some of my fellow M'Inkers. Here's what I had to say back then: 

I've found another thing to worry about as my book's debut draws near.

It's a testament to my fretting powers that I could come up with something new, given my many present concerns. There's hurricane season, a fear of horrible reviews, and the possibility that my fellow Florida voters will fail to select a president -- again -- and the ensuing media firestorm will ensure that no one pays any attention to my funny little set-in-Florida mystery.

Since I wrote those words, I worried through the debuts of four additional books in my Mace Bauer Mystery series. Number 2 was Mama Rides Shotgun. Three was Mama Gets Hitched. Four was Mama Sees Stars. The fifth one was Mama Gets Trashed. Each time got a bit easier, but the nerves always gnawed at my stomach. I think that's the case for most authors sending their books -- their babies! -- into the world. We fret. Will people love my baby like I do? 

I've decided to take a break from writing. (Possible title: Mama's on Hiatus?) Though I never say never, I have no immediate plans to do a sixth book in the series. So, I thought I'd step aside and let some of the fabulous, fresher authors in the Midnight Ink stable take up the reins. 

In honor of my first career as a reporter for USA Today, I wanted to end with a feature the paper made famous, or maybe infamous: Bullet items. Much used and often maligned, bullets are a short, punchy way of getting info across. They're named for the punctuation that sets off each info nugget, often in the form of a list. I did tons of such lists when I worked for USA Today: Tips for keeping cool in a heat wave. Madonna's favorite tummy-trimmers. Top states for shark attacks (Florida, surprise, was No. 1).

So, here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about Inkspot: 
* It's the office water cooler for co-workers who don't share an office.
* It's given me -- and so many of my Midnight Ink pals -- a group identity.
* It's a place for us to have our say, any way we want to say it.
* It's a way for readers to see what we think about when we're not writing mysteries. 
* It's provided me with entertainment, friendship, and a sense of being part of something bigger than solitary little me. 

I just wanted to say thanks. Adieu, y'all.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

One Crazy Summer...

By: Maegan Beaumont

Six months ago, I made a prediction. I boldly proclaimed as fantastically awesome as 2013 had been (and for me, it really had), 2014 was going to be even better.

As it turns out, I'm psychic.

Six months in and 2014 has managed to blow 2013 out of the water!

Book 2 in my Sabrina Vaughn series, SACRIFICIAL MUSE, will be out in a few weeks. Here she is, side-by-side, with her big sister (who's wearing her shiny gold seal from Independent Publishers).

In 5 days (5!!!) I will be attending ALA, my first "real" writer's conference in Las Vegas. I'll be signing books for both Sisters in Crime and Midnight Ink. If you're attending, stop by and say "hi"!

After I get home, I'll be hosting a signing at the world-famous bookstore, The Poisoned Pen, for SACRIFICIAL MUSE, along with my fellow MInker, C.J. Carpenter, who will be signing copies of her debut release, NEVER ALONE.

I'll be handing out some pretty cool prizes, so if you like free stuff, show up and you just might get some!

At the end of July, I'll put on my traveling shoes (they're Birkenstocks, just in case you're wondering...) again. This time I'll be heading to Kennewick, WA for the weekend to sign books at Tri-cities Books with Patricia Briggs, author of the Mercy Thompson series.


At the end of August, I'll be taking my long awaited research trip to NYC/Boston! I'll spend a week soaking in as much local color as possible so that I can start my new stand-alone crime novel, set in South Boston, about a bartender who gets mixed up with the local crime boss. (not to worry... Sabrina will be back!)

Just thinking about all the traveling and excitement in the coming months has got me feeling like a kid at Christmas! It's gonna be crazy... and it's gonna be FUN!

Maegan Beaumont is the author of CARVED IN DARKNESS, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series (Available through Midnight Ink, spring 2013). A native Phoenician, Maegan's stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on. When she isn't busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Kinder Gentler Attitude

by Shannon Baker
Author of the Nora Abbott Mystery Series

“You’re an idiot!”

Those terrible words slam over my six foot backyard fence. The irate holler is followed by a tone so filled with disgust it singes my skin. “Get your ass over here. Put that down.”

I am paralyzed. The scene I was working on vanishes from my mind’s eye and my breath catches.

“You stupid moron!”

A young voice, that of Aiden, my eight year-old neighbor, whines back in argument and what follows is five minutes of the grandfather and grandson sniping at each other with the “adult” flinging out more name-calling.

This scene plays out roughly once a week. I’ve only lived here for eight months and I’m sure this has been going on for a long time. The conflict isn’t confined to this one relationship. Three generations living next door wage frequent battle where I may not be able to overhear words but the tone is evident.

It stops me dead every time. I have a visceral reaction. My breath stutters, my heart races, my skin grows clammy. I’ve always hated conflict. Even as a kid, while my brother and sister clashed over any number of childhood problems, I’d be in the corner crying.

Why can’t my neighbors be nice to each other? Speak with kindness, encourage each other, especially Aiden?

I won’t guarantee Aiden isn’t an idiot. He might or might not be—he’s climbed our fence and done malicious mischief in our backyard, he dug a hole under a tree in the front, he threw rocks through our neighbor’s garage windows, and flung a case of empty jars against the fence in the alley shattering glass outside our yard. Obviously, he’s a troubled kid with needs I can only guess at. But I can’t imagine telling him that’s he’s a moron or an idiot will improve his IQ or his behavioral problems. I might even go so far as to say that kind of verbal battering might actually be at the root of the problem.

As disturbing as that situation is, and believe me, I am not making light of it, it brought home a powerful personal message to me.

While I was clenching my fists and teeth during one such episode, and thinking that some kindness and gentleness might bring about more cooperation and greater potential, a realization struck me. How often do I treat myself with that same impatience and contempt?

I know, we’re writers and a certain amount of that self-deprecating attitude with a dollop of insecurity goes with the job description. But I’ve been particularly abusive of my fragile ego lately. Whatever the details of my shortcomings, it all amounts to me calling myself a stupid moron and telling me to get my ass to my desk and write decent stuff.

Maybe it’s time I treat myself with the same encouragement and pride I wish for Aiden. Instead of tossing aside the colorful crayon picture and focusing on the failing report card, I ought to pin the picture to the refrigerator and shrug over the F, promising that failure isn’t permanent and I will succeed if I keep trying.
Nothing good comes of negative talk, even if it’s only going on between my ears. 

So I’m making a pledge to start speaking nicer to myself. I’m going to treat me with the same courtesy and respect I try to give to others. It couldn’t hurt. It might help.

What kind of encouraging things do you do for yourself?

If you’ve got a moment, send a special thought into the universe for Aiden. And even if it’s only for today, be kind to yourself.   

Friday, May 30, 2014


Take a look at these fantastic titles--Just in time for summer reading!

Never Alone
C.J. Carpenter
A Megan McGinn Novel #1
"NYPD detective Megan McGinn plays fast and loose with the rules in this fascinating debut" —RT BOOK REVIEWS

Resurrection Bay
By: Wayne McDaniel, Steven Womack
From Edgar Award-winning author Steven Womack and Wayne McDaniel comes a force of evil on par with Hannibal Lector in a heart-pounding page-turner you can't put down.