Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING blog hop.

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore. So I get to give a shout-out to the wonderful author who invited me to this “dance” and then invite terrific authors at the end of the blog.

Debut thriller author Amy Shojai invited me to join the “hop.” Years ago we met at a critique group in Texas and we’ve been critique partners, and friends ever since. Her thriller suspense novel, Lost and Found, is suspenseful read with a child and animal in danger. See the links at the end for other authors you really MUST check out. Check out Amy Shojai's website here, and you can buy Lost and Found.


In this particular hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

Bloody Murder is my most recent book, a cozy paranormal mystery, part of the Tali Cates series. The next in the series, Murder Most Fowl, is in the beginning stages.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

I lived and worked in and around small towns in North Texas for twenty years. The town of Love, Texas incorporates events, locations and people from all over the area, as well as putting ordinary small town people in extraordinary circumstances. Add humor and unexpected magic and you have Love, Texas.

3: What genre does your book come under?

Cozy Paranormal Thriller

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If I were every lucky enough, I’d love to see Sandra Bullock as Tali, Meryl Streep as Mumsie (really dreaming now.)

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Tali Cates must stop the murders at the county fair Queen contest before she becomes the next victim, oh, and is her new guy really a vampire?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Privy to Murder is published by AWOC publishing, Deadly Niche

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took a couple of years due to working full time as well as writing and life events.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maybe a little like the Sookie Stackhouse books due to the small town venue, humor and paranormal elements.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I love cozy mysteries and paranormal, so I finally just wrote the kinds of books that I wanted to read.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A good picture of small town politics when it involves kid competitions. Stage moms can be deadly.

Below you will find authors (in no particular order) who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

Janet K. Brown, Writing God's Message of Hope, DIVINE DINING - published by Pen-L Publishing December, 2012, VICTORIA AND THE GHOST - published by 4RV Publishing in 2012

Website:, Group blog:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bloody Murder-Just in time.

Bloody Murder is now live! For a good Halloween read or anytime mystery read, add Tali to your faves.
Love the new cover, especially the reds as I'm a red person. My model is a sweetheart and fits the bill perfectly.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


My sister died the first of this month. This is for her.

What can I say about Suzie?  She had angels, three. I’m sure she is with them now, helping them organize white robes and halos in labelled boxes as only she could. She promised to stay with the angels to bring all of her loved ones up, one at a time to join her. Of course, being Susan, she planned to snatch us one by one.

Susan was a fierce protector of her loved ones and of her students. She had courage beyond the normal. Who else would have travelled half-way across the world, alone; to snatch the man she loved from Iran and bring him back with her?

When Susan was first diagnosed with cancer, she took the news calmly. But she was determined to fight the disease and win. Susan won for a while. For many years she managed her illness and lived five years in spite of the diseases attempts to win. She did so with elegance and grace, as she did everything.

The Susan I grew up with was snarky, smart and funny. She loved cats and Yul Brynner (a fact only appreciated by those of us old enough to fall in love with the bald king in The King and I. Don’t tell anyone, we thought he was better than Elvis.) She was a perfectionist, devastated by any grade under an A. She spent hours on her eyelashes, expecting perfection from them also, and she got it. Nothing and no one defied Susan if she wanted something.

Susan’s Soraya is a combination of the best of Mike and Susan and the two of them took care of her, with the help of Mollie the Cat, brought her home for as long as possible devoted their lives to her.

I’m going to miss my sister, the person who knew me when I was young, my biggest fan, who loved my books, hung my paintings in her house. She knew all my secrets and took them with her. Whether our conversations took place minutes apart, days or months, it was as if we had just paused for a minute.

I will so miss that person who knew me best, shared a sense of humour, love of cats, books, and family. My best friend, little sister Suzie, will be waiting for me to join her and finish that last conversation.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Writing, Life and the rest.

I went to a party last night. We watched a singer, very Sinatra, Andy Williams-ish. Enjoyed the party, wine, friends, music, watching people from work all spiffed-up. Had a great time, but missed having a partner to dance with. Love music, love dancing, no partner does complicate things. Still, eight years later, miss having someone to always watch my back, take over in the emergency, share the fun. Kids are great but not quite the same. They have their own families and lives.

Life has been creeping in more and distracting me from writing. It does get frustrating. Writing is supposed to be my escape, but life events seem to end up with my staring into space and getting no words on the page. I know it's my job to get through it and back to the writing job, but harder than usual this time. Mind over matter, compartmentalizing, not working so well. My mind just goes back to my sister, Karl, other worries.

Maybe I just need to go with it, get past this time and then back into the routine. Traveling works as a life interruption to. I'll be happier when we get back to a routine again and I can put my world back in order. That's my whine for today and yes, I want cheese with that, chocolate and all that good stuff.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's been a stress full week. I'll address that in another post. Today I want to share some ways to stay sane that work for me and tell a funny story-at least to me.

First, sanity aids.

1. Watch birds.
2. Watch the sunrise
3. Watch the sun set
4. Watch the above happen over water.
5. Sit next to the ocean and listen to the waves.
6. Listen to favorite music (Vivaldi-Irish jigs.)
7. Watch the light change on mountains.
8. Listen to and watch small children play and laugh-or kittens and puppies.
9. Write-lists, poetry, anything you want.
10. Love someone
11. Be loved
12. Pray

Jaws and Soraya

My sister Susie had a cat named Jaws. I've written about Jaws the terror, who would come into the bathroom and flush the toilet while you were in a hot shower, causing a burst of ice cold water to shock you into consciousness. I really think that cat enjoyed the screams. She also loved to raid the refrigerator and abscond with any baked goods left around.

When Jaws behaviour became suddenly worse, Susie didn't think too much of it, a little hissing and loud meoooowers, were not end of the world, or missing the cat box. However, after Jaws decided the trick of the day was to pee on her feet, several times, Susie decided she had to do something. It was time for a trip to the vet.

After the marathon event that revolved around shoving Jaws into the cat carrier, they were off to the vet, Susie thankful that travel did not involve public transportation due to the tortured cat screams coming from transport. It sounded more like a wounded lion than a small cat.

Once Susie and Jaws made it back to the exam room, not without stirring up every other animal in the waiting room, the exam began.

After a few moments of examining an extremely docile black cat, the vet looked up.

"Is there any chance you could be pregnant?"

A shocked Susan snapped back, "Of course not. And if I were, I certainly would not come to a vet for the diagnosis." She grabbed the carrier, shoved Jaws in and bolted out of the office.

On the way home curiosity overcame anger and Susie stopped by a drug store to make a small purchase.

At home later, the pregnancy test was positive. After a visit to her OB/Gyn, she found out she was four months pregnant. Jaws and the vet turned out to be great diagnosticians. Five months later Soraya was born, every bit as strong a personality as her mother and Jaws the cat.

Jaws is gone but never forgotten, his skill as a diagnostician will always be remembered, as will his toilet flushing skill.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Winds of Life

This was my beautiful, peacful place to journal, watch birds and enjoy the morning on days off. Now, thanks to Oklahoma wind, the chimenea is broken into several pieces, the tent is ripped and the blue umbrella is broken. Very sad. I refust to post a pic of the destruction. Could sit and watch hummers, pretend I was in Colorado.

Yes, I'm whining even though I know the losss is nothing compared to wild fires burning houses, tornadoes wiping out towns, but it was my little spot and I will miss it.

But, I will pick up the mess, go on, find another way to keep my peaceful safe spot intact. Like life, you pick up and go on, even when things conspire to make you sad. Your book doesn't sell,whatever plans you had fell through, sickness interferes with the way you want life to be.

Life just is, in spite of what we plan. We write in spite of life, and sometimes in order to live because if we didn't write, what would keep us sane? We have control of the words we put on paper even if we can't control a lot of other things about the writing, publishing game and about the world around us.

So, I'm reminding myself to keep on keeping on, write no matter what and live life the best I can, no matter what big or little obstacles life puts in my way. I can move, go around, over or through obstacles and end up where I want to be, even if it is only sitting at a table, drinking coffee, watching birds and journaling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mountain Men in the Wild

I just read a book that impacted me in more than one way. Keep in mind that I'm a fiction addict and rarely read non-fiction not related to my day job (i.e. Medical.)

However, once I began Wild-Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, I couldn't stop reading. I felt everything she felt, met and liked other hikers, was ready to knock-out a couple of hunters. I will never look at hiking, back-packing and food in the same way.

At the same time I admired the writing and was wrapped up in making it to the end of the trail, engrossed in nature along the way, I marveled at the structure as Cheryl wove in all the things that brought her to the trail. If you ever want to write a memoir, read this one as she takes one pivotal event in her life and links everything to it.

I not only learned about nature and the PCT as well as dealing with loss, anger and grief, but learned more about writing a riveting memoir than I ever have. 

If you haven't read this, go to  Beleive me, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Penquins in the snow-a lazy weekend

I was lazy this weekend. I did laundry, played with a two-year-old, we looked at a Cherry Ames Cruise Nurse book together. I painted a new pastel picture, (see above.) Visited with friends, had Sushi with my daughter's friend and sent her off to Paris with a book about writing in Paris.

I painted penquins in a snow storm. But did I write? No. Did I plot? No. Did I get a rejection? Yes. Now I have to incorporate urban fantasy revisions, but I didn't do that either. I guess my brain thinks it needs a break, or I prefer to think, the writing cells are regenerating so that I'm ready to write.

I used a new painting technique for snow with pastel, called dusting. Doing new things will sometimes trigger plot ideas or story direction. Suggestions from an editor gave me ideas about revising another Urban Fantasy to make it better, build a more complete world. So, even when I'm not writing, the cells are working on material to tie in later when I'm putting words on paper (or on the computer.) Nothing you do is really wasted, from watching birds to seeing a child pretend to read a book that is too old for her. That child may read later because she was shown a respect for reading at two.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today I’m writing in Lisa’s garden. At least that was the plan until it started pouring rain this morning. So, I will take pictures of the garden in the rain and post those with this in a while, might be tonight. Don’t want to ask them to hook up two devices.

After I saw Lisa’s garden the first time, I knew I wanted to spend a day there with the herbs and flowers, and walk in fireplace. There is even a labyrinth for meditation. It is just lovely and peaceful in the middle of the city. Also cozy I might add.

In addition, Lisa does music and music vibration therapy (Link) I’m also trying that today and will fill you in. Just listening to her harp is enough to relax me, but pain relief too, I can dig it.

Away from home and distractions, company of Lisa’s little black poodle, beautiful morning so far. I plan to finish some plotting for two WIP since I’m away from major distractions. Promise to post pics.

Today’s writing advice, give yourself a mini holiday from distractions at home. Even a coffee shop will do, put in ear phones, but pay attention to the volume first so you don’t blast your ear drums like I did and enjoy a day away from responsibilities. Let someone wait on you for a change. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thyme to Rhyme-resources

Privy to Murder at the OWFI conference book store. Can't beat Best of Books of Edmond.

Frank and Ron at OWFI

Amy Shojai and Lois

Kathy Moad and Sarah Wilson Basore

Inez Phillips: Winning

Some poetry resources on the web:   Poets, news, articles and reviews.  Poems, essays, Bios  Monthly magazine devoted to verse

If I had time, I'd just sit home today and explore all these sites which would lead to more. Have fun. I have to go to the day job.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

OWFI Conference
Me signing books last year. This year, I added Tarot reading then failed to get pictures of it, I know, having too much fun with readings and met a great writer named Cara so it was all good.

Tarot as a Platform
I followed Tali's Tarot Tip about keeping it simple and did a plain three card, past, present and future spread. Pretty much a fun thing. Remember, as a writer, find a platform of some kind to link into signings, blogging etc. Since Tali and Mumsie, Mumsie in particular, does readings, why not use it at signings as an added value to entice people to interact, not just be pitched to buy a book. Much more fun.

Six Sentence Sunday

Once again it's Six Sentence Sunday.

Post six sentences from your current book, story or WIP on your website/blog.
Put your web address in the comments section of this blog.
If you do not have a website, put the six sentences in my comments section.
Everyone, go to each other's websites/blogs and comment.
This way everyone gets new traffic to their websites.
Have fun.
From Privy to Murder

She turned on her heel, which promptly dug into the grass

and sent her flying into the dessert table. Cake and fruit

catapulted into the air. The sparkles on Mag’s dress dulled

under the layer of cake.

My cell phone rang.

“Oh, Tali,” Mumsie said. “Listen. Don’t worry.”

I interrupted. “Worry about what? What’s wrong?”

Mumsie interrupted me. “Sean’s okay. I was only twenty

minutes late but he’d already called Brian. Brian’s unhappy but

Sean’s home safe. And by the way, the spirit is okay, don’t


Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday-Tricks and Treats of Writing-Feeding the Story Teller

Do you feel like Wonder Woman some times, or at least like everyone else thinks you should be like her. You have sales expectations from your publisher, you meet deadlines, do edits, post on twitter, Facebook, keep up with blogs, actually get writing done, not to mentions care for pets, kids and live a real life.

Is it any wonder you're stressed, need a vacation or need to at least run away? That's why I'm running away this weekend. I know, it's a writer's conference so it involves work, but this is a conference I've been attending for years. I get to see writing friends that I don't see every day, draw inspiration from each other, learn new things, meet new people, sign books and just plain have fun. It's time to feed the storyteller so she keeps on finding stories to tell.

So, if you are in Oklahoma City this weekend, come to the Embassy Suites and see me. I will be back on Sunday for Six Sentence Sunday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thyme to Rhyme (or not) The writer as Artist

When I paint, I enter another space, just like when I write fiction, write poetry, play music. It's the reason so many writers are also artists, or musicians, or do crafts or other creative things. It,s the creative things that keep me alive and happy. Don't get me wrong, I love my regular job, but creativity is what I need, what we all need. 

I enjoy poetry, reading it, and writing bad versions of it. That's why I write about it, to encourage other people to write bad poetry too. It's the writing that counts, using the brain muscles in every way possible.

As an artist, I notice the colors of the leaves, contrasts in nature, the shape of a face and then use it in my writing. As a poet, I practice imagery, whether poetically good or not, its still good practice. As a musician, I notice harmonies, sounds in nature, all useful to translate into descriptions.

Don't let your writing take over your life to the point you can't use other art forms to make your writing richer. I have a friend, Amy, who writes fiction and nonfiction, plays the piano and cello, sings, acts and gardens. You can bet her writing is multi-dimensional.

Don't play a one note concert, let all the parts of your life enrich  your writing.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monday Mash-up, Tali's Tarot Tips

Before beginning a reading, hold you deck in your hands and ask the godess for her help so the reading might be as clear as possible and the meaning clear. Remember to purify the deck by leaving it in the direct light of the full moon over night.

A Chant for Reading Tarot Cards

Godess on high, Queen of the night
Send your light, lend us your might
That my reading is clean and free
The meaning that is meant to be.

Six Sentence Sunday
It's Sunday. Time to share six sentences from one of your books or WIPs in the comments section. Even better, bur a link to your own website where you post your sentence so we can come see you, that way you get traffic to your blog or website and latch on to a potential reader.

Come on down.

Six sentences from Privy to Murder

“I worry about you, Mumsie,” I said, “thinking you are taking advice from an Egyptian mummy. And if you knew Brian was so bad, you could have warned me.”

“You’ve never paid attention to Ka’s warnings.”

She was right. I lost confidence in mother’s counseling efforts after she began channeling messages from spirit advisors—more than one, she claimed.

Mumsie was  tall, elegant, and slender, with short, sassy white hair.

Okay, your turn to share your web address, blog address or a snippet.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Writing Tricks and Treats

Quotes From Writers

"I often think how much easier life would have been for me and how much time I would have saved if I had known the alphabet. I can nevertell where I and J stand wiithout saying
G, H to myself first. I don't know whether P comes before R or after, and where T comes in has to this day remained something that I have never been able to get into my head."

--W. Somerset Maugham--

"I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."
--Peter De Vries--

Put your favorite writer quote in the comments section for an electronic copy of Privy to Murder.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thyme to Rhyme-Poetry Prompt

This form is called the big ten. Write 10 lines, ten syllables for each line. Use any kind of meter, rhyme or subject.

Use this form and write a snapshot poem.



North Texas summer, honeysuckle sweet
long days bright with all possibilities.

Adventure, swimming pool mermaid, chlorine-
scented hair, flowered swim cap like Esther.

Baby oil and iodine, sun worship
confession, movie magazines, real life.

Reading for hours, living other lives
Saturday morning movie theatre

Let's pretend, all the way home, jungle queen
wearring crinoline and penney loafers.

Your turn, pick a day, put a poem in comments, have fun with it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Mash-up

FREE Books and Mumsie's Magic

Go here for free books and reommendations

From Mumsie's Magic Book

Since Mumsie likes the idea of doing Tarot readings by computer, over the internet, she wants to protect her computer against viruses.

Turn the computer on and defragment the hard drive. While it does that, you need to clean the outside of the computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. Chant:

Mother Goddess hear my plea,
keep my computer virus free
let it's files stay where they belong
and my writing flow fine and long.

A little sage smoke for cleansing and salt for protection never hurts, but don't expect spells to do all the work. Install a good virus protection system, back-up your files and only download from sites you trust.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just heard about something called "Six Sentence Sunday." I think it's a great idea, even if I'm not on the link list, so here are the first six sentences from Privy to Murder. I saw it here:   on Calisa Rhose site.

A ghost in the outhouse started everything. That, along with the body and Mumsie’s warning about the “Big Evil.” However, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ever since I moved into our old falling-down family home, in Love, Texas, I’d been short on money. Mumsie was Lucinda Marie Carter-Downs, hyphenated before hyphens were cool. The day I came back with Sean in tow, Mumsie had said, “Tali Cates, Amen Ka told me several times your scumbag of a husband was no good.”

Come back next sunday for more from Tali. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Writing-Tips and Tricks

Voices Inside My Head

Yes, Maxine is in my head ofte, but I can't think of the good comebacks as fast as she does.

About voice:

I had a difficult time figuring out what "voice" meant when applied to writing. Still not always sure my ideas match with everyone else, or anyone else. But here's my take on it.

Voice is how you recognize who wrote something. If you read something written by Stephen King or Dean Koontz, and you're read things by them in the past, you will likely recognize the style/voice, which often go together.

King has an everyman, conversational style, characters you recognize and fall in love with because you grew up with them. Koontz has amazing imagery when he writes. Is this voice, style or a combination of both.

When I write fiction, my voice shines more when I write in 1st person. Then the character's voice will burst through so you know when she is speaking, or he. For most nonfiction, mine is a conversational style, with humor when appropriate, unless it's technical writing, then all bets are off and we won't tackle that here.

If you are a music fan, you can probably listen to a new piece of music by Vivaldi or John Williams, recognise their style/voice, and know who wrote it without being told. It's that way with writers who have a stong voice.

How do you get there? Practice, paying attention to how your writing sounds. My friend Amy Shojai has a distinct voice whether she is writing fiction or nonfiction. I'll know it right away. Read widely and pay attention to voice as well as style, they are often tied together. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wednesday Thyme to Rhyme (or not)

The triolet is a short poem of eight lines with only two rhymes used
throughout. The requirements of this fixed form are straightforward: the first
line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line is repeated in
the final line; and only the first two end-words are used to complete the tight
rhyme scheme. Thus, the poet writes only five original lines, giving the triolet
a deceptively simple appearance: ABaAabAB, where capital letters indicate
repeated lines.
Here's a Triolet by Thomas Hardy
In "How Great My Grief," Hardy
displays both his mastery of the triolet and the potency of the form:
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee!
- Have the slow years not brought to view
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Nor memory shaped old times anew,
Nor loving-kindness helped to show thee
How great my grief, my joys how few,
Since first it was my fate to know thee?
Try one, post it in comments, enjoy each other's poetry. For more go to

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Monday Mash-up (Tarot and Magical Tiddly-bits.)

I'm started a new blog schedule, if I can keep it up.
Mondays will be "Monday Mash-up", a mixture of everything from Tarot Tips, to funny sayings.
Wednesdays will be "Thyme to Rhyme (or not)" Will have poetry I write, poetry challenges or forms. I like poetry but I'm not a poet or teacher, I just have fun with it.
"Tricks or Treats of Writing." Just like it sounds, writing stuff I find and like and share.
Today, "Tali's Tarot Tips"
Find a deck you like and stick with it. (It can be traditional or one of the new kinds. But use the same one so your energy is absorbed and you connect with the cards.
Pick simple spreads at first, like a three card past, present, future spread. (Shuffle the deck (thinking about the question you have, cut the deck by three, take a card off each deck and arrange in a horizontal row, face up. If a card is upside down leave it that way, that also has a meaning. Don't hesitate to use a booklet to tell you the meaning of the cards until they become familar. Soon, you will begin to see deeper meanings as you practice.
Practice on yourself, your friends and have fun. Remember the meanings are not literal, and the cards are fluid, as is your life. Anything the cards tell you about the presence or future can change according to your actions or those of others.
Remember to enjoy, practice a lot and then move on to more complicated spreads. Go to for more tips, Tarot books and tips.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Middle Eastern Poetry meets Bollywood and more.

I went to a creative writing festival last weekend. Saw friends, had my picture taken with a hunky thriller writer (Picture later),learned all about Ghazals and won a prize.

I know you want to hear all about Urdu poery and Ghazals. I'm not a poet or Ghazal expert. I am facinated by a poem that has an overall theme, comprised of 5 to 15 couplets that must contain the over-all theme yet each stand alone, have a rhyming word in the second line of each couplet just before the refrain phrase and contains the poet's name in the last line of the last couplet. Other than that, it's a piece of cake. Oh, and it should be in Arabic, Urdu or lately, English.

The themes dwell upon love, loss of love, things that are missed, regreted, loss of home, the king.

Modern poets are using this poetic form to write poetry and love songs for Bollywood movies. The ancient poets and courtesans used to make them up in their heads and sing them at parties. For much more and many examples see:

Careful, you could get hooked.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Significance of Oranges

Did you know that in the movie, The Godfather, the director used a motif of specially-placed oranges to signal coming danger?

The Don kicks over a basket of oranges when he’s attacked by Sollozzo’s men. Fanucci tosses an orange during his final stroll through Little Italy. Clemenza grabs a pitcher of wine with floating oranges as he tells Paulie to go do his job, then later kills Paulie for not doing his job. Tessio reaches across Mama Corleone to grab an orange during the wedding, literally crossing the Corleone Family, which later has him killed.

There are many more examples and the oranges are just some examples of Coppola’s mastery of mise-en-scene, or in laymen’s terms, the symbolic placement of all elements in the frame. In Part I, Coppola shows a fish pattern on the bar window where Luca Brasi is strangled, foreshadowing the scene where Sonny receives a Sicilian message: “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”

In the Lake Tahoe scene where Michael tells Fredo, “You’re nothing to me now,” check out the row of life rafts outside the window. Across the left of the frame, where Michael sits, there are plenty of rafts (safety), but to the right, behind Fredo, there are none (danger). These particular rafts take on even more significance when you consider where Fredo ends up at the end of the movie. (Dead in a lake.)

Now I need to watch the movie again and see how to use this in writing, forshadowing. I’ve heard about themes, and symbolism in stories but this is the first clear picture I’ve had in my head of how that can work. How can I translate this from a visual art form to words that make the vision clear? I think it will take work, but be challenging to try. Anyone know of other examples?

One commenter will win an electronic copy of Privy to Murder.

Spring is here.

Rain and clouds and spring, all here today. Yay-flowers will bloom. Trees already in bloom. I need to spring forth and start writing more. I've been in a promotion mode, reading mode and neglecting putting new words to the page. Not good.

If I want more books out there, must write them. But, I have to admit, I'm not displeased. The new Privy has been out for less than a month, and I've sold a couple a day. Thing is, selling is good but the actual writing is where it's really at.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Free on Kindle

Yay, Privy to Murder is free on Kindle. I'm having a problem with links on this computer, but if you go to Amazon and do a search for Privy to Murder, you will see that the Kindle edition is free today and tomorrow. Get your copy now. Even better, write a review for Amazon. Tali Cates would love to live on your phone, Kindle or PC.

Still working on my urban fantasy and a new Tali Cates mystery.

Completely off the subject, I discovered a lot of the music styles I like start with C, like my name. Classical, country, celtic, classic rock. Strange. Never noticed that before. But then, I'm a mixture of odd likes and skills. I play the hammered dulcimer (could you have a more obscure instrument?) I paint with pastels, write paranormal mysteries, non fiction infection control books and poetry. I bird watch, clog dance, like experimenting with different wines and know a little karate. I'm also a registered nurse. So, what do you think, Rennaisance woman or ADD?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Cover

Here's the new cover for Privy to Murder. It will be out this month and I love the cover and model. I also created a fan page on Facebook. Haven't managed to create a like button yet but will figure it out. In the meantime, go to!/pages/Privy-to-Murder-by-Carol-Shenold/301713779887800
Like us please

Friday, January 13, 2012

Playing on the White Strings

Last summer I attended a harp workshop. In addition to listening to, and playing lovely harp music, the workshop took place in the middle of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. While I listened to and played all kinds of Celtic music, anywhere I looked, was a mountain to watch, paint, photograph or just enjoy.

One exercise I learned in the harp group involved playing on the white strings only. You see, on a harp there are red strings, blue ones and the white. I discovered this: if everyone in the room plays on the white strings only, no matter what they played, every tune harmonized with the other. Wow. How fun is that?

Of course, after a while, you realize this is not something you want to do all the time. Why? Because there are no longer any surprises. Where are the contrast, unexpected notes, and conflict?

I’m guilty of doing that in my writing. Sticking only to the known and not ever branching out to the unknown with your writing is like playing on the white strings. It’s fun for a while, but pretty soon you may feel as if you are missing something. It’s time to try the colored strings, even if it is intimidating, and you’re afraid of failure.

If you write romances, branch out to mysteries. If you write nonfiction, why not write a short story? Poets, creative nonfiction might be the perfect genre for you. Never get stuck in a rut, try the new scary thing. What if you fail? You learn and stretch and go on to other things.

Come on, get off those white strings, and take a risk.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Give Up!

Don't give up. Writing is hard and takes concentration. I've been letting life get in the way of my writing and my concentration. Time to get things under control.

Some things on my list include:

Finish the galleys for "Privy to Murder" re-release in print. Yay (Anxious to see the new cover.)

Read my BFF's WIP, can't wait.

Promo etc (Not my fave but necessary or none of my peeps will know what's up.

Then for me, paint and play music because I need to do that.

Anyone with great promo tips? Feel freee to share. Comments and tips will put you in the running for a print copy of the new "Privy to Murder."

Blog Archive