Posts Tagged: thriller

Don’t Stifle the Creative Genius!

There are a lot of debates about writing styles. Are you a plotter or a pantser? This is one of those I hear most often. I think I’m a combination, depending on the book I’m writing. I come up with ideas from several places and my creative mind takes over. I can’t fully be a pantser, or my books would have no purpose or cohesiveness. They would wander from scene to scene without ever accomplishing a plot.

As I found out this week, I can’t fully be a plotter either. I generally start off by outlining a book – especially my mysteries. I need to have an idea of where the story is going. The evidence and innuendo needs to be set up so that it comes together at the end. I generally have an idea of who committed the crime before I start writing, though sometimes the characters talk back and let me know it wasn’t them.

Well, I’ve been writing book 4 in the Tip of the Spear series and I started with an idea for the occupation of one of the characters. I was determined that this character had to have this occupation. I researched what that would entail, how much money he would make, the restrictions he would face, etc. I’ve been working on this book for a few weeks, but over the last week, I’ve been stuck. No matter how I tried to tie the events together, it just didn’t work. I rewrote sections, I tried to mentally rearrange events to make them fit. I wore myself out trying to defend my decision that this character had to have this occupation. Finally, I put the book aside for a few days and let the ideas swirl – and came to the decision that he just couldn’t be what I wanted him to be. And you know what? The story started flowing furiously!

My conclusion: don’t stifle the Creative Genius!

One year and counting…..

book covers blog image


Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I published my first book. This has been a rollercoaster ride of fun, stress, learning, and frustration, but has been overall rewarding. I started 2014 with two goals: write one novel, and publish one novel. I started 2015 with the goal to publish four books. So far, I have published three books and three novellas. My fourth book will be released at the end of the month!

Katie Freeman is going to make an appearance in her third book, Free to Live, December 29.

Special Agent Katie Freeman has a secret, one she has only shared with her partner, Michael Powell. While looking at the files of a cold case, Katie discovered a possible personal connection. Is her mother the woman who disappeared twenty-six years ago? And did she kill Katie’s father? 

If her mother is the missing woman, how will that affect Katie’s career with the FBI? And, now that she has dragged her partner into this mess, will the calls come tumbling down on him, too? Adding to the stress is Katie’s new relationship with a fellow FBI agent. She is keeping secrets from him that impedes their ability to move their relationship forward. 

Can Katie resolve this situation before she loses everything she has worked for?

For all of you who have fallen in love with Katie and Michael, I hope you enjoy their newest adventure.

Thank you for sticking with me as I have explored the self-publishing world. I look forward to giving you many more books in the future!

Free to Deceive is now available

Free to Deceive 3D cover2I’m pleased to announce my second novel in the Katie Freeman series is now available! I’ve included the description of the book as well as links to purchase your copy!

Special Agent Katie Freeman and her partner, Michael Powell, step in to assist the local authorities after the discovery of thirteen bodies buried in a small park. The chilling pose of each body and the gruesome manner in which they died indicate a particularly sadistic killer. As Katie and Michael begin investigating the case, they encounter more questions than answers – are these hate crimes or crimes of passion? How did so many men go missing without someone noticing? How are all these victims connected? With more bodies than they can handle and time running out, can they catch the killer before another victim disappears, or will they lose one of their own in the process?

While Katie navigates this case, guilt over the secrets she is hiding from her partner threaten to overwhelm her focus. Can their partnership – and her career – survive if the truth comes out? 


If you read it and love it, please consider leaving a review!

Finding an editor

In all the research I did for self-publishing, one thing was repeated several times: look for an editor in time to get on their schedule. The recommended timeframe for this was two months. I started looking four months before I needed an editor. What I discovered is that most editors have a six-month waiting period. Oops! What is a new author to do? I knew that my book couldn’t be published without a professional editor getting their hands on it. The last thing I wanted was to put something out there that would cause the reader to cringe. I have read those book – the ones that have so many mistakes that it distracts from the story. I just finished a book where one of the two characters in the scene kept switching names. In that same book there was a scene where one minor character was given two different names. It happens! And it is easier than you might think for these things to get through the rereading and beta reader process.

So, I contacted the first editor. I was told that she had no availability until March…MARCH!! Well, since I want my book published in December, March is simply not going to work. I thanked her for her time and moved on.

Then I contacted three more with the same results.

The third of these had availability! Imagine my excitement! We emailed back and forth, clarified her process, talked pricing and payment options; it was great! Then the moment of truth: she asked for a sample from me so she could edit it and we could see if her process worked for me. I had editing samples ready that had been sent to all the other people. I thought this was the easy part. Oh, how wrong I was. I mistakenly thought that those who edit did so because it was their job. In my naivety, I attached that little sample to an email and sent it right off. To my surprise, I received an email a scant two hours later with an, “I’m sorry, but I cannot do this.” My heart sank. Was my book really that bad?

It turns out that the editor wouldn’t work with the subject matter contained in my book. Admittedly murder can be a touchy subject, but that wasn’t the issue here. We exchanged a few emails back and forth; I thanked her for her time; we wished each other luck…and I was back to square one with only three months left until my publishing goal…

Then my life was saved! I was referred to Mike Spring. Mike is a published author (both print and audio), a voice coach, and runs his own company. This man can do it all! And did I mention that he was available?!? Mike literally saved my dream. He was professional, courteous, quick, and responsive. He responded to all my concerns and questions. He never made me feel discouraged, and even better, he said he liked my book! I think that was the moment my nerves calmed down some about actually putting my work out there for the public.

I am still nervous about people reading what I have written. These are thoughts in my head, it’s almost like walking into a room naked. Everyone is going to see everything – yikes! But I am slowly coming terms with this. But working with an editor that has confidence in my work has done a lot to boost my courage.

The lesson in all this: surround yourself with the right people. That doesn’t mean these people should be like-minded. They need to be strong in their opinions and they need to be able to express them in a way that demonstrates how your work can be better, but without making you feel demoralized. I have a great team around me and I would not be where I am on this journey without them.

Where I am in the process

I started January of this year evaluating the goals in my life. I am not a big fan of resolutions. That is really a recipe for disaster for me. I can count on one hand the number of resolutions I have made and kept in my life. About three years ago, I decided: NO MORE RESOLUTIONS. Instead, I set goals. They can be life goals, career goals, personal development goals, or just basically anything to improve where I am or where I want to go in my life. They cannot be things like: lose weight, join a gym, start a diet, etc. So, in the evaluation of my life for 2014, I decided that my career needed some evaluation. I have been doing the same thing for 15 years now. FIFTEEN YEARS! That seems like forever when I look back, but in reality, the years have flown by. I decided that it was time to let lose some of the ideas that have been circling in my head for so long. My goal: write one book and have it ready to publish by year end.

Well, I now have two and a half books under my belt and I feel I’m no more of an expert than the day I started. The first thing I learned: writing is HARD! I mean, seriously, it’s A LOT of work. All these characters are running around in my head screaming to get their voice on the page. My poor fingers can’t keep up with the speed at which my brain is thinking.

The second thing I have learned is to train my brain to only think about the book I am writing and not go off on tangents that will be developed in a subsequent book. This was especially difficult as I started writing The Academy: Book One (yet to be titled). There are several secondary characters in book one that will eventually get their own story before the series is over. As I started developing those characters, their stories started coming to life in my head. I even started dreaming of them! But…dreaming of future stories does nothing to help complete the one you are currently writing… FOCUS!!

Anyway, back on topic. J Book three is going to be finished by the end of November and I am very excited. AND…book one, Free to Kill, is going to be published December 9. I am very happy to say that my life goal is well on its way to being realized. I look forward to evaluating for 2015