Friday, February 28, 2020

Tasty Spring Reading

 As someone who spent thirty years around television studios working as a TV  journalist, I have always been drawn to books featuring people who work in the television industry itself. That was what grabbed my interest when I heard about author D.V.  Stone's latest book, Rock House Grill.  Naturally, I wanted to know more about her and her new book.

 Donna is my guest today in My Writing Corner.  Welcome D.V.  Have you always  wanted to write fiction ?  

I always wanted to be a reader. Oh, I dabbled through the years, but nothing ever took. Then, one day about eight years ago, the time was right. I’d been laid-off from a job. The economy wasn’t great, and I was home for the first time since my son was born. It was a now or never moment. I haven’t looked back since.

What are the challenges of being a writer?

 Time. Finding the time to do everything I need to get done. I still work full-time outside the home. There’s a house to run and other obligations. 

Tell us about your road to publication. 

The road to publication has lots of potholes. My first two books are self-published. I’m not going to call them mistakes—but perhaps a leaning experiment. The stories are good. Editing? Not so much. Several times I’ve gone back and re-edited and released. Funny story is Rock House Grill, which was signed by Wild Rose Press, was done on a lark. I always considered myself a fantasy author. I took the NaNoWriMo challenge. In November, it’s 30 days, 50,000 words. Then I sat on it for a while. One day I pulled it out and began sending it to editors and publishers. My editor, Elf, will tell you what a mess it was, but Wild Rose saw something in it and has nurtured me and Rock House Grill. 

How do you come up with your characters? 

Usually, I have some idea of a plot, even if it’s only a line. Then I do research finding one I think fits the character. My favorite is when I write fantasy. Then I research not only the meaning, but then run the meaning through translators.

How do you come up with your plots?

 Sometimes it’s a picture. Sometimes it’s a song lyric. Often a random thought. And once, a name popped into my head, and I needed to give her a story. Gloriana’s book is in the editing/submission process.

Tell us about your latest book, Rockhouse Grill. What made you write it? 

As I mentioned above, NaNoWriMo was the spark. Since the time constraint was tight, the words write what you know was quite apt. I’m a former Emergency Medical Technician and restaurant owner. Not only did it come together it has spawned a series.

What are you working on now?

The second book of the Impact Series is titled Jazz House. I'm very exxcited about it. You'll see some familiar people but the new female main character has many secrets. 

That sounds like fun reading! What advice would you give to beginning writers?

Fear is your worse enemy. Do't let doubt hold hands with it. You may need to thick your skin, but if you have a story--tell it.

Great Advice. Let's learn more about Rockhouse Grill. Here's the blurb.

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He's rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

All the ingredients are in place for some tasty reading. Here are the buy links.  

Available April 6th, 2020

How can readers get in touch with you?

Thank you, D. V.  for being my guest.  Any comments or questions for D. V.?

Friday, February 21, 2020

Cold Case = Hot Suspense

 One of the best parts of being a writer is that you get the opportunity to meet and get to know other writers. Talking with them about how they work and what they are working on can stimulate ideas and make you a better writer. One of the writers I met many years ago ago who has continued to inspire me as a writer is Donnell Bell, who also writes mystery and suspense like me. We've been to many writing conferences and worked together on various organizations over the years. I've always enjoyed reading her books and today she visits My Writing Corner to present her newest work, Black Pearl.   

Donnell Ann Bell began her writing career at the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Pikes Peak Parent Newsmagazine before turning to fiction. An award-winning author, including a two-time Golden Heart finalist, she is the author of Black Pearl, book one of a series, Buried Agendas, Betrayed, Deadly Recall and The Past Came Hunting, all of which have been Amazon bestsellers. Black Pearl is her latest release, and she’s back to work on book two of the series. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter or sign up to win books and prizes via her newsletter

What made you want to be a writer?

Truth be told, the nuns made me do it. I owe two Ursuline sisters my gratitude for recognizing I had a gift. When my classmates were writing about space aliens and Chips Ahoy cookies, I was writing about a drought-ridden town in which the residents were forced to load up their covered wagons and start over. Years later, I would guess I got the idea from Lizzie and the Rainman sung by Tanya Tucker. Those two nuns literally pulled me out of class and gave me permission to dream and tell stories. I wrote my first published novel based on a song by Tricia Yearwood and Don Henley, called Walk Away Joe. That book led to The Past Came Hunting my debut novel. Apparently, music influences me greatly.

What do you like best about your heroines/heroes? 
I write a cross between an alpha and a beta male. I cannot stand any male who bullies a woman. Then again, I don’t like a woman who bullies a man. I guess you could say I’m not a fan of bullies. But I love strong characters, compassionate characters. That includes my female characters. I was a volunteer victims advocate for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy dressed up in a Pillsbury dough boy-like suit had each of us volunteers come at him in “attack” mode in self-defense class. When it came to my turn, he kept yelling, “You’re such a girl!” The point, to make me Hulk-like angry. P.S. He made me angry, but he was so right about the “girl-part.”

The good news is I realize it and make my characters everything I’m not. My daughter was an All League softball catcher, and a team leader. I am in awe of her strength and poise under pressure. I rode with a female field training officer on a twelve-hour shift and we brainstormed my character. I talked with retired female police officers. That knowledge and those experiences enabled me to write my first female police officer protagonist – who I can tell you is a kick-butt heroine working in a male-dominated profession and everything I’m not. She possesses traits of some exceptional women I admire. I’m exceptionally proud of Allison Shannon, the character I created for my series.

Tell us where you got the idea for your latest book.
I lost my best friend growing up to violent crime. I would say in the back of my mind she’s always with me. Perhaps that’s why I write around the theme Suspense to Close to Home and why I always demand justice for victims. As an aside, although this book was fiction in every sense of the word, it was therapeutic to write.

What advice would you give a beginning writer?
Don’t be in too much of a hurry. One of the best things ever is to see your name on a book. But like the old slogan, I will sell no wine before its time, the same applies to published work. Make sure it’s ready. Study craft. Listen to beta readers and critique partners, and not just a family member who loves you, no matter what you write. Make sure the story holds up, not only in grammar and punctuation, but in content. Make sure you invest in an editor and proofer. Here’s an article I wrote for Romance University and Pikes Peak Writers that writers might find helpful.

Let's get the details on  that latest book, Black Pearl: A Cold Case Suspense

A cold case heats up when a 9-1-1 call puts police at a Denver murder scene pointing  investigators to the abduction of a Colorado teenager fourteen years before. The connection? A calling card--a single black pearl--is found on the newest victim. Is the murder a copycat? Or has the twisted killer, thought dead or in prison, returned to kill again?

The hunt for a multi-state killer is on and brings together an unexpected team: a Denver Major Crimes police lieutenanct; an FBI special agent who investigated the previous murders, a rooke FBI aent with a specialty in psychology; and the only living victim of the Black Pearl killer who is now a cop.

For Special agent Brian DiPietro, the case is an opportunity to find answers. For Officer Allison Shannon, the case will force her to face down the town that blamed her for surviving when another did not. And for both DiPietro and Shannon, it's a chance to find close on questions that have tormented them both for years. 

If you would like more information about Donnell and all her great books and the buy links, here is her website:

Thank you, Donnell, for being my guest and bringing us your latest!  Any questions or comments for Donnell?

Friday, February 14, 2020

Hot Mystery for A Cold Day

We're in the heart of winter here in Colorado and it's the time when you want to curl up with a good book to spend the day because there's are foot of snow outside and the streets on our block are barely passable. What better way to do that than with a wonderful mystery! Today's guest in My Writing Corner, is J. L. Delozier who has a new mystery out that sounds like a just the sort of  book to enjoy on the snowy day. 

Jennifer says she sent made her first story submission written in pencil on lined  notebook paper. Let's find out more about her. 

Tell us about how you got started. 

I wrote short stories in junior high school and took a creative writing class as an undergraduate. After that "write a novel" hovered at number one on my bucket list. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I prepped by reading Stephen King's On Writing and then just went for it.

What do you hope readers get from your books?

Escapism, pure and simple. As a physician, I see enough bad things in everyday life to ever want to write nonfiction. 

How do you write your stories? 

I'm a punster, so the characters develop themselves as the story flows. That sounds touchy-feely, but it's truly how I write. 

Where do you get ideas?

 Often from snippets of overhead conversation, whether that be in person or via the radio or television. For Con Me Once, the idea came from an old GQ article on the "real-life superhero community", specifically a man named Phoenix Jones. The article made me ponder the psychology behind the need for these (mostly) men to dress up in home-made costumes and patrol their neighborhoods. It also made me wonder what would happen if they go embroiled in some heavy shit, and voila! Con Me Once was born. 

As a former Las Vegas resident, the location of the book grabbed my attention. Let's hear more about Con Me Once:

When Frak Lambda, a bumbling superhero wannabe, witnesses a mob hit gone wrong, he ends up running for his life.  Enter the mysterious Keira, whose secret academy claims to turn wannabes like Frank into real heroes. Frank knows a con when he sees one. But desperate for an escape, he joins three other recruits for training in Las Vegas. Against the backdrop of a thousand spandex-clad cosplayers, Keira's true agenda--a multimillion-dollar heist from her mobster brother--is exposed. With their lives and a fortune at stake, Frank and his team of misfits fight to become the heroes they always wanted to be. 

Tell us about your next book What are you working on now?.

 My WIP, working title The Photo Thief, is my first mystery with a significant paranormal element and also my first to mix POV characters: one 1st person, and one 3rd person. It’s been a challenge, to say the least, but hopefully it’ll be worth it. The plot centers around a young adult with a seizure disorder who “hears” old photographs collected by her great-grandfather speaking to her. They ask her to solve their murders—and that of her own mother.

Thanks for introducing us to your books and your writing. 
Here's the buy link:

For more information about Jen, here is her contact information:

Thank you, Jen, for being my guest. Any comments or questions?

Friday, February 7, 2020

A Note to the Wise

Recently I was cleaning out my office area and found a whole pile of notebooks. They had all been used and when I started going through them I realized each one had notes from various lectures, conferences and workshops I’d attended. There were others with a variety of stories I was either working on or wanted to start. A few others had notes where I was developing ideas into stories or plots. In looking them over, I got to thinking about notes in general and came up with what I considered a trio of suggestions when it comes to notes:

Take Notes

Make Notes

Bake Notes

Okay, very cute but what does it all mean?

The first is self explanatory. It only makes sense that when you attend a workshop, you should take as many notes as possible on what you learn at conventions or talks or anytime you have the opportunity to hear a writer talk. Listen to how they got to working on their stories or books and make notes for yourself. You can pick up some good suggestions just from hearing how the process works. I always carry around a notebook in my purse so I am ready to take notes at any time and wherever I am. If I get a story idea, or see something I want to know more about, I’m ready to write it down so I don’t forget later.

Making Notes might also be self explanatory but it doesn’t relate to the first idea. Make notes whenever you have an idea, no matter where you are. Make notes on whatever piece of paper you have handy. You never know if that idea will come again.  I haven’t had many an idea disappear totally from  my brain when I tried to write it down later. As a result,  I now write down whatever idea I come up with as soon as possible.  I have bank withdrawal slips with ideas written on the back, but that’s why I keep that notebook in my purse. It’s works well  for those crazy ideas that might pop up when I might be out and about.

Baking Notes  has nothing to do with cooking. It had to do with what to do with those  ideas or notes once you have them written down. Don’t just let them sit there and gather dust like I did with my notes.  Take them to the next level. Think through all those notes you make and then think about where you might want to take them. Taking all those notes at a conference don’t mean anything if you don’t do something with them once you get home I found some great ideas I had forgotten about because I went to a conference, came home all fired up, remembered what I had been told for a week or so and then let go of everything I learned.  But on the other hand, if you try using some of those ideas and putting them into practice even a few times then you’ll get more out of the notes you’ve made. Even if the ideas don’t work for you as presented, other things might stick and it might improve your output, your outlook or your overall  writing.

Don’t just write it down those ideas either, use them.  Don’ t just keep making notes on ideas. Try them out somehow. Play with them and make use of them. Perhaps they will send your current story into a new direction. Perhaps they will help you figure out what you want to do with a future story. But if you put them into action or expand them, you’ll be better off in the future.

At least you won’t just be stuck with a bunch of notes in a notebook that you can’t remember , either where you got them or what you intended to do with them. So if you are going to make notes, or take notes, then be sure to bake those notes!

Characters Lead the Way

We're in the heart of the summer and it is time to relax and enjoy a few good books by the beach or in some secluded mountain cabin. To...