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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
3/27/2016 12:33:51 AM
Never Take the Short Cut
So, this is how it happened, from idea to Castle to meltdown to other meltdown:
Several years ago, when I turned onto the "short cut" I was taught to take to Corpus Christi from Houston, I thought about how creepy and desolate the road looked in the dark, the same thought I'd had many times before.
But, this time, I started thinking about how it would suck to have car trouble on that road and be all alone. I'd been reading a funny mystery series by Harley Jane Kozak around this time, so I guess my thoughts wandered off in that direction. I started thinking about other reasons a woman could be on the side of that road and what could happen under those circumstances.
While I was finishing No More Mr. Nice Girl, I kept coming up with ideas for that "short cut" book and making notes about it.
I already knew I didn't want to write a book in which the comedy came from the heroine being stupid and bumbling most of the time and a guy constantly having to rescue her from her silly self (even though I'd enjoyed some series like that). I really like smart people. I want to be around smart people. And I would be spending a lot of time with these characters if I wrote this book.
I also liked the idea of a duo--heroine and hero--with a relationship more like Rick Castle and Kate Beckett have in the TV show Castle. Both are smart in their own ways. Sometimes she rescues him. Sometimes he rescues her. Sometimes they rescue themselves or each other.
By the time No More Mr. Nice Girl came out, I had a bunch of notes and portions of scenes written, so I decided to go ahead and start officially writing my mystery series. (I'm not sure when, exactly, it became a series in my mind, but I actually had notes to go in about 6 different books by then.)
Then, one day, I was working on Dead Men Don't Chew Gum, trying to figure some more details out--unlike romantic comedies, mysteries need things like clues and red herrings and dangerous action--and I asked myself, "What the hell were you thinking? Why would you assume you could write a mystery and then tell everyone you were writing a mystery? What do you know about writing mysteries?????"
Actually, I think this happened several times while I was writing the book, and sometimes the feeling lasted for several days.
Apparently, I worked through it because I sent it out to 3 times as many beta readers as I did my last book, expecting them to find major holes in the story. They didn't. Only a few minor, easily fixable things.
Whew! (A hundred thousands words is a lot for me to keep straight.)
They did tell me it was funny and romantic and the mystery kept them guessing. However, yesterday, while in the middle of writing the 2nd Martin and Owen Mystery--Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche--I freaked out again and asked myself, "What the hell were you thinking? Why would you assume you could write a mystery and then tell everyone you were writing a mystery? What do you know about writing mysteries?????"
But such is the roller coaster confidence of a writer, and today I pulled myself together and got back to work.
Meanwhile, in case you are wondering, here are the answers to some likely questions:
Are these mysteries funny like your romantic comedies?
Yes. My beta readers who have also read my romantic comedies tell me that Dead Men Don't Chew Gum is very funny. My editor claims it's the best book I've written (but I'm not sure she's trustworthy, so you can read the sample to see what you think).
Is there romance?
Yes. But the romance starts in the first book and develops over several books.
Will you write more romantic comedies that are not mysteries?
Yes. In fact, this series has inspired more romantic comedies because there are several secondary characters who I think deserve romances. One appears in Dead Men Don't Chew Gum and others are mentioned but don't appear until the second book. In fact, I count at least 5 characters I already know of from this series that should have their own romantic comedies. One of them will actually meet up with a friend of Dillon's (the one who made him his millions) from No More Mr. Nice Girl. I wonder what you call that. A double-cross-over?
Are you as crazy as some of your characters?
Okay, first, imaginary reader, that was kind of rude. Second, once one is a published author, she gets to be referred to as "quirky" or "eccentric," not "crazy." It's a rule. And, third, yes I'm pretty crazy...um, I mean, quirky.
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Click here to view or buy Dead Men Don't Chew Gum.
1/11/2016 6:07:39 PM
Tacos, Torches, and Trump Has Some 'Splaining to Do
I’ve been unable to travel much the past few years, but now that my migraines are under control, I made a whirlwind trip to Corpus Christi with my daughter and Mr. Nina.
What I learned (or re-learned):
1. Carne guisada tacos are love wrapped in a tortilla.
2. My relatives are still hilarious! Some because they’re witty. Some because they’re characters. Some because they know how to tell a story for the most dramatic and humorous effect. Or maybe they’re all all-of-the-above. It’s hard to be sure with everyone talking at the same time.
3. The torch is being carried on by a new generation. At my daughter’s request, we stopped by to see my cousin’s daughter who shares some of my daughter's interests. We laughed so hard at her story of what she went through to land her husband—if I’d taken notes, I could have had a movie script—we didn’t want to leave and felt like we should have paid a cover charge. (I’d already gotten one thing from her that’s written into my upcoming book: Dead Men Don’t Chew Gum.)
What Mr. Nina learned:
1. He can happily eat Mexican food for every meal.
2. That my family is full of good-hearted people whose jobs and/or spare time often involve helping, teaching, caretaking, and even lifesaving. He was impressed by their huge corazones (hearts).
3. His easy-going stepdaughter who has been his buddy for the past 8 years will turn on him, give him the death stare and speak to him in a tone of voice he’s never heard before if he eats the pan dulce (Mexican pastries) she picked out instead of the ones he chose.
She wanted that empanada, damn it!
What my daughter learned:
She may be capable of violence after all, and if she is, it will be triggered by someone eating her damned pan dulce!
On a side note, Mr. Nina was kind of insulted that there were Mexicans everywhere in Corpus Christi and no one tried to rape him. (Donald Trump really set him up for disappointment on that one.)
All in all, it was whirlwind, but it was fun and maybe a bit inspiring. You never know what nuggets from from real life will turn up in my stories!
10/3/2015 2:54:57 PM
This is for the Paper Lovers!
Yes, I finally gave in and put out all my books in paperback.
Why did it take me so long? Well, there was a whole 'nother process involved that was more complicated than publishing the ebook versions. And to be honest, once I tried an ereader (mine happens to be a Kindle Paperwhite with a leather cover that makes it BETTER than reading paper), I thought everyone would be switching to electronic reading any minute.
Clearly, a lot of people have switched to ereading here and in the UK, where I was surprised to see my books take off. (I didn't know the humor would translate into Ukayian or Britese or whatever people speak over there). However, occasionally I'd get a reader wanting to know how she could buy a paperback version. I'm a big old pleaser, so, what can I say? I caved. And to be perfectly honest, there was a certain sense of wonder that came with opening the box and pulling out physical manifestations of years of work.
What was really awesome, though, was that the covers came out even more gorgeous in paperback than ebook! I could stare at Not Dreaming of You, Always Dreaming of You and No More Mr. Nice Girl all day. Mr. Nina's favorite cover is Mia Like Crazy.
Anyway, the links to both ebooks and paperbooks are on my book page.
And big kisses to those of you who read me in ebook and have now ordered the paperbacks too! And when I say big kisses, I mean you better not let me catch you in person or your face is going to be sloppy wet!
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