Special Edition–It’s a Blog Hop!

Hey, it’s Monday!  So why am I writing a blog today?  Because I’ve been invited to be part of a blog hop.  This is a fun, social engagement with writers and authors around the Internet and a chance for you to browse for your next read.  Is this cool or what?  Please check out the links today because I’m hoping you’ll find enjoyment with two author-friends of mine, and they have links to other writers. Good luck and happy author-hunting!

P.S. This post will take the place of my normal Wednesday edition this week.


Author Catherine Dilts

Be sure to check out the Stone Cold mystery series by Catherine Dilts

I met Cathy at a Left Coast Crime book convention a couple of years ago.  We became instant friends over lunch at a fast food place and have never looked back.  I hope to have Catherine Dilts as a guest blogger later this fall. She writes a rock-shop mystery set for those who enjoy a little fossil hunting and a nice chill up your spine.  Stone Cold Dead came out last winter and she’s just had her second novel, Stone Cold Case, accepted for publication.  Cathy has also had several stories published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.  I think hers is a name that will continue to grow in the publishing industry. Thanks, Cathy, for inviting me to be part of this hop.


Pamela Nowak

Award winning author Pamela Nowak could be your next best read!

Pam Nowak is a historical romance writer who is focusing on the wild west.  I loved reading Choices from this award-winning novelist.  Pam is one of the “big names” from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and each time we meet, she shares a great smile and a totally fun spirit.  But I’m rattling.  Here’s Pam’s official bio:

Pamela Nowak writes historical romance set in the American West. In addition to widespread critical acclaim, her books have won multiple national awards. Her most recent book, CHANGES, won the Colorado Book Award for Genre Fiction. In love with history and rich characters for most of her life, Pam has a B.A. in history, has taught prison inmates, managed the Fort Yuma National Historic Site and run a homeless shelter. She was named the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year in 2010, chaired three conferences, and now serves as president. Pam and her life partner, Ken, live in Denver. Their combined families include six daughters and several grand-children. Together, they parent a dog and a cat. Pam loves hearing from readers and invites them to visit her on her website (www.pamelanowak.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pamela.nowak.142), or Twitter (www.twitter.com/readpamelanowak).

Changes  by Pamela Nowak

Changes by Pamela Nowak

Be sure to check out her newest offering, Changes, when you can.


Part of this hop, is to answer the same four questions in order for new readers to get a chance to know you, so here goes:

What am I working on?
For me, it’s always best to be working on a bunch of things at a time, even though I try to focus on one big project. I try to keep an ideas notebook, and have lists, character ideas, settings and more organized into a nice bright binder.

Right now, my big project is the third Daisy Arthur mystery, called Pot Shots. Colorado is acting as one of the experimental states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana. But with the federal government holding firm on not legalizing the drug, marijuana stores work one hundred per cent in cash. That was just too much temptation for a writer like me to keep away from. Now, how is a nice romance writer edging into her golden years going to get involved? Lots of fun here, I hope.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Anyone who writes has their own voice and is therefore, by definition, different from others. Still, I like the way Daisy has no pretense about being an amateur detective. She’s simply someone who makes the most of what life throws her, and that, I hope, is a positive message for us all.

Why do I write what I do?
They say you should write what you know. Given that, I always thought you had to have actual police experience to be able to write a mystery. Then I started reading cozies and fell in love. When I saw a book on how to write mysteries, it helped solidify a vision I was working on already, and Daisy was created. I think a lot of cozy mystery solving comes from being intrigued by the puzzle-solving aspect of it all. And I love (though am not very good at) puzzle play—sudoku, spider solitaire, name that celebrity, logic problems and more. At last! My penchant for play is rewarded in writing. How cool is that?

How does my writing process work?
Ooh. That’s a hard one. Believe it or not, I usually start with a flash that makes me giggle. That flash can be a scene in my head or, even more likely, the title of a book. I play with that flash until I think I have a real idea. Then I start gathering thoughts and ideas for a few months. I’m not really sure what’s taking hold in my subconscious at this point. The idea is to talk with people who may be involved or passionate about a subject and listen to them. Then I have to noodle around what sort of motive might be around that subject that would cause someone to commit murder. If I’ve been sitting around for six months or more, the guilt gets to me. I stop trying to find the perfect plot and start scolding myself for being so lazy. Once that puzzle is solved the play begins.

I write the story from a few different perspectives. I do this long hand, as I believe it’s easier for my subconscious to come out to play when I write long hand.

When I have four or five perspectives complete, I copy them paragraph by paragraph onto three by five cards. I suppose it would be smarter to type them up, print them and cut them apart, but I love index cards. The cards have been a real friend for keeping me organized throughout my adulthood.

When the cards are complete, I mix them up, shuffle them about and spread them all over my dining room table. Then I number them, stack them up and essentially have the outline for my next book. From there it’s a simple matter of discipline (which sometimes I have in abundance, and sometimes I don’t). At this point I try to set a deadline for sending the work into beta readers and the publisher, all in hopes the next book will be something they want. Fingers crossed.

Hope you’ve enjoyed your visit. If you’re new to this blog, please drop me a line and let me know what you like to read about.  If you’re a returning friend, thanks for spending time with me today.  There will not be a post on Wednesday.

Make a great week, my friends!


Posting Around The Internet

I love writing. Well, duh, right?  I write novels after all.  But I also write blog posts–lots of them.  If I write a “think piece” as most of the work on this site represents, it takes me about an hour to get done.  There is almost no editing, or you would be treated to a much shorter version of my work each week.  Unfortunately, there isn’t time for the polishing, so you’re stuck with 700-900 words instead of a more palatable 500.  Thanks for your patience as my mind wanders through topics.

Heart Hands - Few digits-infinite message

Few digits-infinite message

When I write for other publications or blogs, the same article takes about two to three hours, as I often do research and interviews to get the job done.  Then there is the thank you note to interviewees after the post is up.  This is a subtle way to try to drive more traffic to my client’s site.

Yesterday, a post I wrote about critique groups went up on my writing friend, Catherine Dilts’ site.  She told me she had more hits than I can imagine. Whoopee!!! Hoping some of those friends will come over to my site on occasion and I can garner more readers over time.


Catherine has also invited me to be part of a “Blog Hop,” where a group of authors visit each others’ websites and answer some basic writing questions.  This is a pretty new event that helps individuals who write promote themselves and their stories to new groups of people.  It is marketing inexpensively (very important to writers everywhere), with just a few hours of effort.

If you’re writing an author’s blog and want to join the fun, please let me know.  I’ll see if I can get you connected.

I’m excited to tell you that two author friends of mine will join Catherine and me on this adventure.  Donnell Ann Bell writes best selling suspense and crime novels and Pamela Nowak writes award-winning historical romance.  I hope you’ll make a point of joining them as they post on August 18th.  I’ll be sure to post their links once again, when I post on August 11th (Yes, this is a Monday, and not my usual Wednesday, so please watch out for this).


Another blog I write for is the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ blog. Once a month I try to interview personalities in publishing.  That is a whole new adventure in that I need to come up with people willing to talk to me about subjects around publishing and books as opposed to writing.  Next month I will be interviewing the great Douglas Preston (25 books written so far, and co-writes with Lincoln Child).  He has particular expertise and interest in the current controversy surrounding Amazon and mega-publisher Hachette. I am so excited for this! If you have a particular question you’d like me to ask Mr. Preston about what’s happening with the two book giants, please let me know.


This blogging is so cool.  I’m constantly writing and honing skills, obviously, but blogging for clients expands my own circle of friends and opens me up to learning so much more about the world than I ever thought possible.  One client, DeckTec, builds decks and patios for homeowners in the metropolitan Denver area. For over 25 years they’ve built this business and a great reputation.  So when the opportunity came to write a blog on “the art of outdoor living,” you can imagine how excited I was.  For over a year now, I’ve been writing about decks, gardening, wildlife, pet care, and all things backyard for the company.  How cool is that?

Thing is, all this blog posting has lots of advantages and only one drawback.  The advantages:

  • Meeting lots of people
  • Expanding your own subject expertise
  • Generating ideas for stories and characters
  • Building a readership and author platform “without hardly trying”
  • Learning to write better and faster
  • Learning the basics of social media

And the one drawback?  I work so much on these blog posts, I’m finding a challenge in making time to write my novels (Does this sound like “the dog ate my homework” to you too?)

Happy writing week, friends.