New Books from Darynda Jones and Jeffe Kennedy

June 4, 2015 § 2 Comments

June 1, 2015

Saturday I went to the book signing for fellow LERA members Darynda Jones and Jeffe Kennedy at Page One Books here in Albuquerque.

Darynda Jones Jeffe Kennedy Authors Booksigning

Darynda Jones and Jeffe Kennedy at Page 1 book signing for “Eighth Grave After Dark” and “The Talon of the Hawk”

Jeffe Kennedy signed for the next book in her The Twelve Kingdoms series, “The Talon of the Hawk.” She said that she pitched her first book in the series as “The Middle Princess” because in the fairy tale the eldest and youngest princesses always get a story, but the middle princess never does.

Darynda Jones Jeffe Kennedy authors book signing

Jeffe Kennedy at Page 1 book signing for “The Talon of the Hawk”

Darynda Jones signed for the next in her Charley Davidson series, “Eighth Grave After Dark.” (I also picked up the previous book “Seventh Grave and No Body.” I’m a wee bit behind.) Darynda said that when she first started writing the series she envisioned it being about Charley, the Grim Reaper, slowly but surely coming in to her full power. What readers really responded to was the world-building and that led to the expansion of the series into the layered, multi-character universe fans know and love.  

Darynda Jones Jeffe Kennedy authors book signing

Darynda Jones at Page 1 for book signing “Eighth Grave After Dark”

So now I have some exciting new books to read to distract me from my synopsis writing nightmare.

I mean, Stephen King said, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”

I love when I can justify my excuses.

It’s a Good Thing I Enjoy This Writing Thing So Much

August 18, 2014 § 6 Comments

August 18, 2014

Last year I pitched to an agent at RWA and she told me that my word count was too high—like, “heart attack too high”—so I spent last fall and winter splitting the book into two.

That agent rejected my submission.

This year I pitched to another agent at RWA and he likes my premise but does not like the fact that it is split into two—like, “everything was great until you said it was split into two”—and he wants to see a definite ending.

I agree. My love my original ending. My original ending is the reason I wrote the book.

So now I’m back to my original version, the one that is not split in two, and that means I have to cut a hell of a lot of words.

Panic attack has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen.

I’m getting through it with a little advice from my friends and other sources.

Stephen King, from On Writing, advice from his newspaper editor:
“When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

On Writing

These words are keeping my head on straight and guiding me through the darkness.

Ryan Winfield, author of Jane’s Melody, when I told him my woes:
“Don’t cut just to cut, but getting the word count down will hopefully make it crisper and make for better writing.”

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

So far, so good. I’ve cut 600 words from the first three scenes and they read much better. Only thing is, 600 doesn’t sound like very many words right now. I will not despair.

Louise Bergin, fellow LERA member and author of historical romance:
“Cut, but keep what you’ve cut off to the side and use it later as extras for promotion.”

Love my LERA gang!

Love my LERA gang!

Great idea. I’ve seen other authors do this, like Cora Carmack at the end of her book Finding It. I’ll probably end up with a year’s worth of blog posts of deleted scenes and original versions.

Dia of the invaluable Hot Tub Readers:
“Whatever you do, don’t cut any of the sex scenes.”

Duly noted.

Reading New Adult, Waiting, and Binging on Breaking Bad

August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

I have been reading a lot of New Adult (NA) books. It turns out that this relatively new genre is what I’ve been writing in all along. College-aged protagonist experiencing first true love, first real relationship, first split from family, and trying to figure out what the heck to do with her life. I love this genre. Here are some NA books I’ve read, or are currently reading, that I really enjoyed.

Losing It

Losing It by Cora Carmack—(Read). Light, hilarious, fun.

Fallen Too Far

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines—(Read). Spunky heroine. Great premise. Great voice.

Faking It

Faking It by Cora Carmack—(Currently reading). Love. Love. Cade is my dream man.

Entwined with You

Entwined with You by Sylvia Day—(Currently reading). Just as sexy as the first two in the series.

Three days after I returned from RWA, I submitted the requested material to the agent I pitched to. Yeah, I jammed on it right away. I didn’t spend the last several months holing up every weekend and not getting enough sleep for nothing! Now, I play the waiting game. It’s not a bad place to be. I can do some supplemental research. Sketch ideas for the next book. Read—a lot. Re-invigorate my social life. And I really have to get on the social life thing. I hermitized for so long that my beta reader Dia is threatening some elaborate schemy-scheme to get me hooked up. And that sounds like a disaster and a half.


Dia and me. Don’t let that smile fool you.

I was one of the 5.9 million viewers who tuned in for the final premiere of Breaking Bad on Sunday. After I spent the last few months frantically catching up on the series via Netflix. Now I know what the infamous “Box Cutter” episode is all about, the one that Steven Michael Quezada brought up during the Breaking Bad panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE) in June.

Giancarlo Esposito said that filming THAT scene in the season four opening was tough. “I had to try to elicit some compassion somewhere behind my dead eyes.”

BTW, in person, Giancarlo is a very handsome, gregarious, charismatic man with an amazing, resonant voice. Not like Gus Fring at all. When an audience fan announced breathlessly to Giancarlo, “I love you,” he replied, “Did you just say I’m a handsome cat or what? Yeah! I love you, too!”


l-r: Steven Michael Quezada (Gomez), Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring), Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor). Breaking Bad Panel at Albuquerque Comic Expo, June 22, 2013.

Steven Michael Quezada told the story of his audition, when Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan asked Steven what he thought of the script. Steven didn’t know who Vince was, so he said, “I read it twice. This shit’s so crazy, it just might work.”

When Vince said he was the one who wrote it, Steven thought, “Shit. I just blew it. I just did the opposite of what I tell my students to do. Just go in and read the lines. They don’t care what you think about the script. I don’t know what he [Vince] saw in me to give me the part.”

Giancarlo said, “You know what it was. You. You were being yourself. He saw you. When you go in, they want to see you. Who you really are.”


The Reading Parties Come to an End

July 9, 2013 § 3 Comments

. . . and we’re a little bit sad about that.

We’ll have to come up with another reason to get together and relax in the hot tub on Sunday afternoons.


I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because I’ve been in the writing cave. Spending every spare moment on getting the final manuscript ready for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference. I wrote during lunch hours, three hours every night after work, several hours on the weekend, and all day on the 4th of July. It paid off. Everything was done in time for the final reading party that started Friday evening in the hot tub and ended Saturday afternoon in the living room.

I kind of can’t believe it’s over. None of us can. We started in January, with me frantically re-writing just a couple chapters ahead of the readings, and we finished in the first week of July. What a journey it’s been.

I expected to feel relieved. Jubilant.

Instead, I feel shell-shocked. Disoriented. And a little sad.


I still have a few minor edits based on my readers’ feedback. But it’s done. Just six months past my original goal of completing this novel by the end of 2012.

The funny thing? My two readers had totally opposite reactions to the story. They insist this is a good thing. Vic is heart, and Dia is head. The theme of my story is following your heart instead of your head. So, I guess it’s fitting that they one-eightied each other.

Now, on to writing my synopsis and prepping my pitch.

Oh, yeah. And there’s a leaky hot water heater I have to tend to.

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