Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Today is the final installment in my three-part series on ways writers can show their readers some love. Check out days 1 – 20 and days 21 – 40 at the highlighted links.
And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA'S A KILLER, at these outlets now!. E-book versions available for pre-order soon!
Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
My novels take place in Ireland, so I have an extra level of research. For example, I can't just research, say, coma patients in hospitals. I'd need to know the particularities about coma patients in Irish hospitals.
I start with research here in the States -- this gives me a baseline -- but then I need to do the groundwork in Ireland. (Lucky me!) As I'm writing my first draft I keep notes about everything that I'll need to check into in Ireland.
It may seem odd, but I prefer to do my Ireland research after I've written the first draft. I can get away with this because I already have a feel for the country from previous research trips, and I have a world that I've already created. And there's so much I can find out online to get me started anyhow.
And frankly, at this stage in my progress, when the story is a tender thing with shallow roots, I'd prefer not to let reality get in the way of the storytelling. I know, I know -- that may sound bass-ackwards, but I truly believe that knowing too much reality could limit my creativity.
I can just hear my big old editor brain bossing me around like it alway does: Oh no, character X couldn't possibly do that because that's not realistic.
So, yeah, I like to steer clear of reality as much as possible while writing the first draft. Here's my equation:
ignorance = writing bliss
I'm exaggerating somewhat, but you get my drift. And, just to contradict myself, in my initial research forays I often stumble onto quirky, odd, and interesting factoids that rock my novelist's world, things I could never have thought of on my own.
So maybe research is a balance, after all. Enough research to get me started but not so much that I get bogged down trying to cram my story into what the research tells me reality it supposed to look like.
So here I am, 15,000 words into my first draft, and here are some of the topics I've looked into thus far:
- Psychiatric nursing as a career
- Night terrors
- Bible quotes related to resurrection
- Butterflies as symbols
- Easter/Spring rites
- Private nursing homes
- Lung cancer misdiagnoses
- Raku pottery
Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY, which has been called "utterly poetic" and "a stirring debut." The second novel in the series will be published by Midnight Ink in 2016 (more information to come!). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
True, I have trouble remembering names. But that's not why I'm searching. Any author can tell you that discovering names for characters isn't always straightforward. The name has to fit the character. If I'm writing a tough strong woman, I'm unlikely to name her Susie or Tiffany, for example. I'm also unlikely to name a male villain after one of my sons.
And then there's keeping names distinct. If I have a continuing character named Kevin, I shouldn't name a new character Keith or Ken. To avoid this I try, within a book, to have only one character whose name begins with the same letter of the alphabet, at least within the gender. I think readers
won't be confused if I include Katie along with Kevin. And thus the importance of the character bible, my list of series characters and their characteristics. When I'm naming a new personality, I scan the list to make sure there isn't overlap.
But with the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, I also have to have period-appropriate names. How do I
database of names. Here's what the page I use says:
The following table shows the 200 most popular given names for male and female babies born during 1880 - 1889. For each rank and sex, the table shows the name and the number of occurrences of that name. The 200 most popular names were taken from a universe that includes 1,177,184 male births and 1,399,591 female births.
Edith, which essentially no one is named these days, is number 31 in frequency! Other older-sounding names include Flossie, Matilda, Etta, and Winifred for girls, and Otis, Silas, Tobias, Felix, and Sylvester for boys. I'm gonna bet you won't hear most of these in this year's kindergarten class.
In the Union Cemetery here in Amesbury, where the series is set, there is a Quaker section. Members of the Religious Society of Friends name the months and days of the week with numerals instead of the traditional names, so you know you're looking at a Quaker headstone when it says the person died on Fourth Day, Ninth Month, 1873. And from these stones I've learned that some of the Quaker family surnames were Huntington, Breed, Winslow, Latting, Stillwell, and Cartland.
Readers, what's your favorite old-fashioned name? Writers - where do you find inspiration for character names?
Friday, August 7, 2015
By: C.J. Carpenter
A Megan McGinn Novel #2
“Quick, engaging . . . Megan is a feisty, multitasking homicide detective.”—RT BOOK REVIEWS
Murder on the Bucket List
By: Elizabeth Perona
A bucket List Mystery #1
“Bubbly characters keep this cozy debut lively as you search through the red herrings for the big fish.”—KIRKUS REVIEWS
Fool Me Once
By: Steve Hockensmith & Lisa Falco
A Tarot Mystery #2
“Readers who adore the women detectives of Dorothy Cannell and Maggie King will be pleased by this quirky series.”—LIBRARY JOURNAL
Murder Comes Calling
By: C.S. Challinor
A Rex Graves Mystery #7
“Nicely mixes procedural detail and village charm and will appeal to fans of Deborah Crombie and Anne Cleeland.”—BOOKLIST
Promises to Keep
By: Maegan Beaumont
A Sabrina Vaughn Thriller #3
"Edge-of-the-seat-plotting will keep readers’ attention late into the night. Sabrina’s third outing (after Sacrificial Muse) is a solid choice for Chevy Stevens and Taylor Stevens fans." —LIBRARY JOURNAL
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
And yes, I knew that people such as the masked monks of who-knows-where were all part of the décor.
|The Costume one is |
on the right ... no, the left!
I found that kinship at these conventions early on—and these trips have given me something I never expected … not just readers, but dear friends. I’ve met some extraordinary people. I can’t list them all, but my email list grows after each trip. I’ve met independent studio movie makers like those from MILFS vs. Zombies—nope, not a misprint; amazing photographers like Jenna from Images by Jenna; and wild-ass crazy pirates like Capt. Mango de Cayo Hueso. Then there is Clay, the aspiring D.C. author; Jim the clockmaker; Louis the author-film maker-entrepreneur; Wayne the part-time ghost hunter; and some down-to-earth lovelies like Karen, Kayla, and Kelly who went to Williamsburg on a monsters quest. In between are some very talented people who make these trips interesting—artists, film makers, costume designers, writers, sculptors, toymakers, and more. There’s no room for boredom or solitude—even if you’re a man in black.
Learn about Tj’s world at:
Monday, August 3, 2015
Okay, actually I'm both--a romance writer as well as a mystery writer. Currently, I am writing for two Harlequin series: paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne, as well as Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I'm also writing two series for Midnight Ink: the Superstition Mysteries and the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.
Near the end of July, I attended
the Romance Writers of America National Conference in
. There, I roomed with a couple of writers who
also wrote mysteries as well as some romance.
We were additionally on a panel together, along with two others with
similar backgrounds. New York City
We each discussed our careers before becoming writers and how those careers have factored into our writing. Since I started in advertising and public relations and segued into being a lawyer, both have been helpful to me in both writing what I do and also the business aspects of my writing career.
And that career so far? My first published fiction was a mystery short story in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine which won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for best first mystery short story of the year. My next published fiction consisted of time travel romance novels, and then Harlequin Intrigues, which are romantic suspense. I've since published cozy mysteries, more paranormal romance and more romantic suspense, so yes, I'm both a mystery writer and a romance writer, and most of my stories contain both elements but in different amounts.
At the RWA Conference, I was delighted to sign and sell my latest MI mystery, BITE THE BISCUIT, at the Literacy Signing, where proceeds go to organizations that support literacy.
Fun event? Yes. Next
year it's in my backyard--
(I live in LA) so I figure I'll be there, too.
And by then I'll have more romances, and mysteries, to talk about. San Diego
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
|Edgar Allen Poe|
The 2nd Shaman Mystery, UNRAVELED VISIONS