It’s Never Too Late

It's Never Too Late(unless you never do it)

Them: “What do you do for a living?”

Me: “I write mystery novels.”

Them: “Ooh! I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

Me: “So why don’t you?”

Them: Uhhh…

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I wouldn’t have to write books for a living.

But seriously, I hear this all the time. We are all born storytellers. That’s not a mystery. So what stops people from putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and writing that story that’s been kicking around in the brain?

The reasons vary, of course, but they usually boil down to not having enough time or not knowing how to do it. Sound familiar?

I put off my author journey until I retired. No longer is time an issue. Heck, I got nothing but time. Oh, except for travelling, seeing my grandkids, running my reselling business, watching shows on Netflix, etc. If you love something, you’ll make time for it.

The second reason, the one about knowing how to write, is a little trickier. What I find is that most people who want to write are already readers. If you can read, you can write. Does that mean you’ll be a master craftsman? Of course not. No one comes out of the womb being able to write a bestseller.

Except Stephen King. But then, he’s a freak of nature that way. For the rest of us, it’s a matter of practice, study, and improvement. To quote Tom Hanks from A League of Her Own, “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that make it great.”

A woman recently told me she had an idea for a story but didn’t know how to start it. My advice is simple: Start with, “Once upon a time…” You’ll delete this phrase later, of course, but it’s the easiest way to begin. If you have an idea about “someone” who “wants something” but faces an “obstacle” in getting it, then you have the makings of an interesting story.

Writing is another way to tap into your creative side. Even if all you do is get the story down on paper and read it to your dog—strike that. Dogs are too hyper to sit still that long—read it to your cat instead. You will be better off for having done it.

If your cat gives you two paws down, you can always feed it to the paper shredder. No one will be the wiser.

I wonder if Stephen King even knows what a paper shredder is.

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Audiobooks – Hearing is Believing

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If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen the announcement that Sharpe Shooter is being made into an audiobook through ACX. This is a new and interesting experience for me.

The first step was to select options for the type of voice I wanted. The narrator had to be a woman, even though several chapters are told from the point of view of men. But it’s Deena Sharpe’s story, so I specified a woman. I wanted a Southern accent, of course, but nothing too over the top. I think those can get annoying sometimes.

Then there was a category where you could choose a specific characteristic of the speaker’s voice. It could be suspenseful, snarky, sophisticated, etc. This was the hardest choice. Of the twenty or so options, I finally decided I wanted a narrator with comedic timing. Deena and her fellow characters do crack a few jokes now and again.

Next, I put a sample chapter up and hoped at least a few narrators would audition. I was afraid no one would be interested in my little cozy, so I waited anxiously for responses. Sure enough, they came. It was really odd to hear other people read my book aloud. I realized immediately that the choice was going to be tough.

As it turned out, I chose a fantastic narrator and producer. I’ll wait to tell you her name when we get closer to finishing the project. Since the characters range in age from the late twenties to early nineties, I needed someone who could handle those various voices. She does a great job, and I can’t wait for you to hear the finished product.

Narrating an audio book is a much harder task than I had imagined. Voice actors must do so much more than read a book aloud. It’s not like reading a story to your child. They must maintain a consistency throughout the five plus hours of recording, emphasizing key words and phrases and pacing it to avoid letting the story drag or fly by too quickly.

The narrator makes the story his or her own, just like we do when we read a story in our heads. It’s much like an actor who takes on a role. Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford would play the same part in a movie very differently. (Maybe one of them could be in the movie version of Sharpe Shooter. Ha!)

We’re hoping to have the audiobook completed by the end of September. In the meantime, post below if you have any comments or questions about audiobooks.

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New Release

Spirit Moves: Cozy Suburbs Mystery Short Story

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I wrote this short story a while back for a compilation with other authors, but I have just released it on Amazon. It is a little different from my novels. Although it is set in Maycroft and Deena Sharpe has a small role, the story focuses on a teenage boy.

Here’s the description:

Corey’s life in the small Texas town of Maycroft has spun out of control ever since his stepfather Michael came into the picture. However, greater forces may be at work when one decision changes everything in this tale of psychological suspense.

I’d love to know what you think.

Buy it HERE for just 99¢

 

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What is a Cozy Mystery?

Have you read

Whenever I tell people I write cozy mysteries, I get a slight variation of the same look. They nod their heads, squint their eyes, and open their mouths just a bit. The question on their lips is always the same: What is a cozy mystery?

For fans of the genre, the answer is simple. It’s a clean story based around a murder in a small town, like an Agatha Christie novel or an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Here are some of the common characteristics of a cozy mystery:

Amateur sleuth. Often, the main character is a reporter, private eye, or ordinary citizen who gets caught up in an unusual situation. If the main character is in law enforcement, the story is usually categorized as a police procedural or crime novel rather than a cozy mystery.

Small town setting. More and more, authors are expanding their settings to include big cities like Los Angeles. However, more often than not, the main character’s world is still small and includes a small geographical area where people tend to know each other.

Clean Language. No curse words or swearing. Rate ‘G’ for language.

Non-violent. Yes, someone (at least one person) dies, but the death is ‘off screen’ and never described in a graphic way.

No steamy sex: In fact, most characters in cozies never get past first base.

Light tone. Rarely is a cozy going to be grim. Although the themes vary, most stories will contain some degree of humor.

Varying realism. When it comes to cozies, they can vary from realistic to paranormal to fantasy. It is not unusual to find ghosts, witches, and talking cats in these stories.

Puzzling. Interesting characters are essential to any good story. However, a puzzling plot full of clues and misdirection is the glue that holds a great cozy mystery together.

For readers who want an entertaining read without a lot of violence and cursing, try a cozy mystery. You just might find your next favorite series.

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New Cover Reveal!

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https://www.amazon.com/Sharpe-Turn-Cozy-Suburbs-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01H5RE1XC

 

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