Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Archive for January, 2012

Space Coast Writers Conference

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 31, 2012

First, congratulations to MAUREEN HAYES who won my January blog contest!
Remember to check my dates in February (click on Appearances above) and comment on my blogs and guest posts to enter a drawing for more free prizes.

This past weekend, I had a great time meeting new friends at the Space Coast Writers Guild Conference.

As a published author, I served as a mentor to three newbie writers. My experience is more fully described on Wednesday over at The Kill Zone . Based on those sessions, I wish to offer these writing tips for your opening chapters:

  • Start with action or dialogue. If you absolutely must begin with a description, make sure it is emotionally evocative from the main character’s viewpoint.
  • Leave backstory for later or weave it in with dialogue. Or drop it in a line or two at a time in the character’s head if it relates to the action.
  • Make sure all conversations serve a purpose.
  • Remember to include emotional reactions during dialogue between characters.
  • Make sure your characters are not talking about something they already know just so the reader can learn about it.
  • Keep the story moving forward.

We all gained a greater understanding of our work from this interactive mentoring experience. I helped my group with critiques of their work, suggestions for author branding and promotion, getting an agent, etc. They helped me determine suspects’ motives for my next mystery.

I also presented a session on Getting an Agent, which included writing the selling synopsis and query letter. I didn’t get to attend many sessions myself, except for one on working with Amazon Createspace. But we attendees had a couple of meals together where I met new friends and heard interesting keynote speeches. The hotel on Cocoa Beach was on the ocean so we got to watch the sun rise over the water. A good restaurant in town is the Lobster Shanty if you ever go there. During the book signing, I sat next to mystery author Lois Winston. We chatted and traded info about the industry.

As an experienced author, you’ll see how much you know and how far you’ve come when you attend conferences with mostly beginning writers. I hope I was helpful to the people I mentored. Now I can face my next story with renewed enthusiasm.

Sunrise (800x600)


Lois Winston (800x600)


If you have any doubts about whether you should sign up for a writers’ conference, do it now. You’ll pick up new gems of writing advice or industry buzz, make new friends, gain name recognition, and come away reenergized. It’s worth the time and money to invest in your career.

After this intense conference, we relaxed at the Magic Kingdom. The expansion of Fantasyland continues with construction evident. Other attractions were closed for refurbishment as well. It was a perfect day, sunny in the seventies. We just enjoyed strolling through the grounds and admiring the flowers and landscaping. As always, we had one new experience. We got stuck on the Carousel of Progress in the 1920’s scene. This kept repeating itself and we didn’t revolve to the next diorama. Everyone got up after viewing the scene for the third time and left through one of the exits. I saw later that they had fixed the ride. Oh, well. It didn’t obstruct from our pleasure.


SPLASH MOUNTAINSplash Mountain (800x600)

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Conference Prep

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 24, 2012

How long does it take you to prepare for a writers conference? Soon I’ll be heading off to the Space Coast Writers Guild Conference in Cocoa Beach, SleuthFest in Orlando, and Malice Domestic in Bethesda. It can take me up to a week to get ready for each event.

Conferences necessitate a lot of preparation, especially if you’re going as a speaker. Aside from determining what you hope to accomplish, i.e. attending specialized craft sessions, learning about new publishing options, meeting editors, etc., there’s the physical prep. Here’s a checklist of things to consider.

  1. Prepare for your talks. If you’re a panelist, it’s easier because you don’t have to do much prep, unless each person is expected to give a presentation. Moderator-run panels mean more work for the moderator but less work for the panel guests. If you are conducting a workshop on your own, you’ll need to compose or update your material.      blog speaker
  2. Get copies made of handouts. If you’re speaking on different topics, assemble each handout in a separate manila envelope to keep them organized.
  3. Order business cards unless you have them ready. Consider updating them with QR codes or with your social network URLs.
  4. Pack brochures, bookmarks, and flyers about your books.
  5. If you are driving, toss a box of extra books into your trunk in case the bookseller in charge of the signing doesn’t get your books in time. Bring a checkbook because the bookseller might offer to sell you leftover stock at a discounted price. Also consider giving away a book or two at your talks as a door prize or at the Q&A session.
  6. If you’re donating a raffle basket, get this ready.
  7. Bring a signup sheet for your newsletter.
  8. Print out the conference workshop schedule and highlight your appearances. List these on your website and other online sites and include these papers in your suitcase. Bring a highlighter along so you can go through the conference schedule on site and mark things you want to attend.
  9. Box promotional items for goody rooms, i.e. pens, magnets, and other swag.
  10. Print out contact info for friends you hope to meet at the conference.
  11. Decide which outfits to wear to the different events. Business attire for daytime, dressier clothes for evening? Don’t forget matching shoes, handbags, and jewelry.


    Nancy Cohen, Allison Chase, Cynthia Thomason

  12. If you’re driving, print out directions to the venue. If you’re flying, make sure you have all the required documents.
  13. Determine what gadgets to bring along: iPad or Laptop? Kindle or Nook? Camera to photograph authors, panelists, and parties so you can document your post-conference blog?
  14. Notebook to take notes.
  15. Sharpie pens for signing books and ballpoint pens for note taking.
  16. All the usual things you bring when traveling: toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, etc.

And the countdown begins. What else would you add to this list?

Nanpanel      Nancsigns

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments »

Crime Scenes

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 22, 2012

Detective R.C. White (retired) spoke at yesterday’s Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Here’s a smattering of what he discussed. Even though my cozy mysteries don’t contain forensics details, you never know when such knowledge will be useful.

  • Consider involving a Public Safety Aid in your story. The PSA doesn’t have arrest power but does a lot of the grunt work.
  • DAVID—Driver and Vehicle Identification Database. If an officer has this equipment in his car, he can bring up your driver’s license photo, driving record, vehicle registration info, and your emergency contacts if you’ve listed them.
  • NCIS is one of Detective White’s recommended TV shows.
  • Bag and Tag. In reality, more than plastic bags are used. Guns may go in boxes. Items may go into brown bags. But on TV, they use plastic bags so the viewer can see the item.
  • Before touching anything at a crime scene, you must carefully observe and photograph.         camera
  • Photographs should be taken from wide angles all the way to close up shots. The camera should be at a ninety degree angle. Tripods or other equipment are sometimes used to steady the camera, which has to be leveled to take the shot. Often a ruler is placed beside the item being photographed. Different types of rulers may be used depending on what’s being photographed. Lighting is important. Footprints, for example, require oblique lighting.
  • A database of shoeprints exists, or at least it did when the detective was active at work.
  • Luminol glows like a wrist watch in a darkened room, and it’s a time exposure. This chemical agent is used to expose possible blood stains. False positives can come from rust, copper, iron, enamel paint, horseradish, etc. So it’s a presumptive test. The next step is to take a swab and test it. Some of the other techniques deploy PTH or phenylthaline and Protein Dye Stains.
  • For fingerprints, besides lifting tapes, Iodine Fuming involves breaking a glass beaker tube and blowing through it. The fumes adhere to grease and oils, i.e. prints may become visible. Must photograph them before the chemical fades. Ninhydrin turns fingerprints into color so you can see them this way, too. (Disclaimer: This is what I heard, so it’s subject to my perception. Accuracy should be verified before using this source).

At this point, Detective White showed us clips from the film, “My Cousin Vinny”, to demonstrate courtroom technique. He said this movie is required viewing at some law schools. I hadn’t seen this movie. It looks hilarious as well as informative. Will have to watch the TV schedule to catch it next time it plays.  detective

I may never use this information in one of my stories, but again, you never know. It’s absorbed into my mental storage unit of crime data from mystery conferences. But it proves one important point. Don’t rely on television for your investigative details. Get the facts, ma’am, and check your sources.


Please visit the sites on my Blog Tour and leave a comment for your chance to win a free signed copy of Shear Murder. This site counts, too, but I’d like to thank my hosts by having folks stop by my guest sites. Today I’m at Lelia Taylor’s Buried Under Books.

**January 22, Sunday, Buried Under Books, “Setting as Inspiration”

Coming Next:
January 25, Wednesday, Escape with Dollycas, “Weddings and Murder”
January 30, Monday, Savvy Authors, “Concluding a Series”

And if you missed my prior ones:
January 13, Friday, Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, “Character Quirks”
January 16, Monday, Author Expressions, Author Interview
January 20, Friday, Jungle Red Writers, “Conferences, Cocktails, and Coffee”

Posted in Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cruise with your Muse

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 19, 2012

Sign up now for Florida Romance Writer’s biannual cruise conference!

Come Cruise with your Muse on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Sea from Ft Lauderdale, Florida on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 to Monday, January 28th, 2013. Join us and see the beautiful blue seas of Cozumel and bask in the Caribbean sunlight. Writing Workshops, Editor/Agents Appointments, and more! Spouse/companion package available.

For Pricing information visit us at:

To register follow these few simple steps.

Step 1: Register
Step 2: Pay Conference Fee
Step 3: Our Travel agent Elda Awapara-Maldonado at ONE WORLD CRUISES will contact you to finalize your plans and receive your cruise fee deposit.

Want to come but don’t have a roommate or companion yet? No worries. You do not need to have this settled until March 15th, 2012. If you need help finding a roommate, please let us know. We have already paired up a few fabulous people.

Present a workshop for us and receive a discount of $50 off your conference fee. Email your proposal to

Our conference website can answer most of your questions  or feel free to email me at

See you onboard…

Kimberly Gonzalez
Conference Chair
FRW Fun in the Sun 2013

Note from Nancy: I’ve signed up!

Posted in Cruising, Florida Musings, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shear Murder Release Date!

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 18, 2012

Today is the official release date for Shear Murder, my tenth Bad Hair Day mystery, so you’re going to have to put up with my shameless self-promotion. That’s the trouble when we authors must toot our own horns. We get as tired of talking about Me as you do hearing about it. Lately I’ve been clogging the loops and ShearMurder (518x800)social networks with my blog tour announcements. I want to make it worthwhile for my hosts by getting a crowd on days when I guest post. But it means I am constantly tweeting and FB’ing and listing my tour dates and topics. I sent out one email newsletter to my fans already and will send another blast next month on my book’s official sale date.

What? You thought I said today was the release date? Indeed, I did. However, for this publisher, that means the books are shipped from the warehouses today. They’ll be ready in the bookstores on February 8, the actual “on sale” date. Confusing, isn’t it? It was a lot less so with my prior publisher, who just had one pub date. As it is now, I’m not sure which day to urge fans to buy the book. Does it really matter anymore?

Here are a couple of sample interview questions from my online blog tour. If you leave a comment on one of my guest posts or here during January, you’ll be entered into a chance to win a signed copy of Shear Murder and a set of Paua shell jewelry.

Tell us about your latest book.

Shear Murder is the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series. It’s the culmination of a personal journey for my hairstylist sleuth, Marla Shore. It’s about weddings and new beginnings. Just when Marla is planning her own nuptials, she gets caught up in another murder investigation. Marla is a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s wedding when she discovers the matron of honor—the bride’s sister— dead under the cake table. She has a lot going on in her life, but when Jill pleads for her help in solving the case, Marla can’t refuse. It’s a fast-paced tale with humor, romance, and suspense as Marla races to find the killer before her wedding day arrives.

Considering the book is a mystery, how much can you tell us about the villain?

Since the story is a whodunit, I can’t tell you much! Many people had reason to want Torrie, the matron of honor, dead. Torrie was the bride’s sister, and Jill had a secret past that Torrie threatened to expose. How far would Jill go to maintain her sister’s silence? Then again, Torrie’s colleagues each had their own reasons to want her out of their way.

Meanwhile, Torrie’s husband inherits a piece of property that Torrie had jointly owned with her sister. How badly does he need the money from a property sale? And speaking of commercial property, Jill’s uncle and cousin were involved in a shady real estate deal with the owner of Orchid Isle, where Jill’s wedding took place. Did Torrie learn too much about his secrets? And so on. As you can see, there are a number of suspects. You’ll have to read the story to figure out which one of them is the culprit.

What motivated you to write this story?

My books all have happy endings, and so I wanted to give my series one, too. Seriously, my fans wanted to know when the next Marla Shore mystery would be coming out, but my former publisher had cancelled the series. As the markets changed, I decided to finish this book and give my readers the closure they deserved. So I really wrote it as a response to fans and in gratitude for their support. I hope they are pleased with Shear Murder. It was a delight to write, and I had fun bringing back all the secondary characters we’ve grown to know and love. I am grateful to Five Star for getting this book in front of readers. So if you’re looking for a humorous mystery centered around weddings with a whodunit puzzle to solve, check it out.

What’s next for you?

My next book will start a new paranormal romance series based on Norse mythology. Warrior Prince is book one in The Drift Lords series. I’ve written three books so far in this universe, and I’m eager to share these stories with readers. (Watch for new sale announcement!) After this project is off the ground, I’ll turn my attention back to another mystery. And you never know, it might even be another Marla Shore adventure.

Watch the Book Trailer


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Three Stages of Writing

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 15, 2012

Story writing essentially has three stages: Discovery, Writing, and Revision.

Discovery is the process by which you discover your story. The bits and pieces of character and plot swirl around in your subconscious before you put words to paper. Consider it creative energy at play rather than feeling guilty that you’re not being productive. This can be the break you need before starting the next novel. It’s time well spent to refill your creative pool and to gather ideas. Doing a collage, watching movies, listening to music, working on a hobby, walking outdoors, or reading for pleasure are some of the ways you can stimulate your creativity. Cut out photos from magazines of celebrities who look like your characters and fill out your character development charts. Search for relevant articles to your storyline and sift through them. Thus begins your research. Often this prep time can take weeks, or it can take a month or two. If you’re a seasoned writer, you’ll know how long you need. Be sure to factor this in when you determine your target goal of completion for your project.

When these ideas begin to coalesce in your head and your characters begin to talk to you, you’re ready to begin writing. This is when I sit down and write an entire synopsis. The synopsis acts as my writing guideline, so I always know where I’m going even if I don’t quite know how to get there. This still allows for the element of surprise. The plot may change as the story develops.

At this stage, I’ll set myself a minimum writing goal of 5 pages a day or 25 pages a week. It’s okay if I exceed that amount as long as I meet my quota. Beginning a book is the hardest stage for me. It might take me the first third of the book to get to know my characters, especially if it’s a new series. I’ll collect my critique partners’ comments but I keep forging ahead. It’s important to give yourself permission to write crap during this storytelling phase. Once the book is written, you can fix it. Just get those words down on paper and move forward until the draft is done.

When you finish the first round of storytelling, it’s a good idea to put your book aside so as to gain some distance from it. You’ll be better prepared for revisions with a fresh viewpoint. Use the time to plan your promo campaign, to jot down blog topic ideas, or to write reader discussion questions. When you find yourself eager to tackle the story again, move on to the next stage.

Now come the heavy revisions. First I’ll do critique group corrections. Then I begin my own line editing. This can get intense, because you need to keep a sense of the whole story in your head. You can’t stop, or you’ll lose your train of thought. I might work off and on for 12 hours a day, inching through revisions one word at a time. Ideally, I get the chance for another read-through for more polishing and to double check for continuity. You can’t rush this process if you want to produce what editors call a “clean” copy. When you set deadlines, be sure to allow a month or so for revisions, especially if you forge ahead like I do to write your first draft.

I guarantee that you’ll always find things to correct, but at some point you’ll be too close to the material to see straight or too sick of the project to work on it any more. Then the book is ready to submit. But don’t worry, likely you’ll have a chance to fix things again when you get your copy edits.

Send it off, clean up your desk, file away your mounds of papers. By now you’re thinking about the next book and are getting ready to start the process anew. Force yourself away from the office and take some time off. You’ll return with fresh ideas and renewed energy.


Leave a comment during my blog tour in January and enter to win a set of Paua shell jewelry and a signed copy of Shear Murder. This blog counts, too!

Monday, January 16, 2012
Author Expressions
Topic: Guest Interview

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Kill Zone
Topic: Release Day!

Friday, January 20, 2012
Jungle Red Writers
Topic: Conferences, Cocktails, and Coffee

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Buried Under Books
Topic: Setting as Inspiration

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book
Topic: Weddings and Murder

Monday, January 30, 2012
Savvy Authors
Topic: Concluding a Series

Posted in Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Blog Tour

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 11, 2012

My blog tour kicks off today! Please visit these sites and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a set of irridescent shell jewelery and a signed copy of Shear Murder. Comments on my own blogs count this month as well, but I’d really like to thank my hosts by having many visitors to their sites on my blog dates.

January 11, Wednesday, It’s Not All Gravy, Author Interview
January 13, Friday, Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, “Character Quirks”
January 16, Monday, Author Expressions, Author Interview
January 20, Friday, Jungle Red Writers, “Conferences, Cocktails, and Coffee”
January 22, Sunday, Buried Under Books, “Setting as Inspiration”
January 25, Wednesday, Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book, “Weddings and Murder”
January 30, Monday, Savvy Authors, “Concluding a Series”

Also, I blog bimonthly over at The Kill Zone. My next post there is Wednesday, January 18, the official release date for Shear Murder.

If you haven’t yet checked out Southern Writers Magazine, take a look at the January issue. I’m on the cover and inside in a feature article.

Another cool site is Book & Trailer Showcase. Sign up for their newsletter and enter to win prizes. I have an Author Page on this site, too.

Hope to see you around the blogosphere!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Advice for Wannabe Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 6, 2012

Advice for Wannabe Writers by Lucy Burdette

Often when I tell someone I’m a writer, a haunted look washes over his or her face. “I’ve always wanted to write a book,” he or she says. “Do you have any advice for how to get published?” Well, yes, after nine published novels and a pile of published short stories and articles, I do have a few suggestions.   Roberta2

1. MAKE A PLAN THAT INCLUDES LOTS OF LITTLE, MANAGEABLE GOALS: As I begin a book, I look ahead to the due date and figure out how many pages I’ll need to write each week in order to hand it in on time. I build in time for trips and family and time for my writers group to read and critique, and then time for me to rewrite. Then I end up with a page goal for each week. I write until I’ve hit the goal, sometimes even getting a little ahead. If I have an unproductive day, I know I have to write a little faster later in the week to keep up.

2. HAMMER IT OUT: Get it all down, even if it’s awful. You can always go back and fix things later. Anne Lamott called this “the sh***y first draft”—she had it right!

3. SET YOUR SIGHTS HIGH: As a psychologist, I know the importance of having “big goals” for my subconscious to aim at. So I keep a copy of the NY Times bestseller list pasted up over my computer. Yep, that’s where I want to be! Then I forget about it and work on the books word by word.

4. TAKE YOUR TIME: Don’t rush off too soon to try to get your work published. This business is extremely competitive so it’s crucial to have your writing polished before sending it out. The Internet makes querying and even actually publishing a book very, very easy—don’t press “send” until you’re sure the piece is the best it can be. And meanwhile, there are lots of conferences that are attended by literary agents and editors. It’s not a bad idea to get some face time with a professional—this personal contact could be what helps your manuscript get a serious look. And now even more with a surge in the ebook business, it seems so easy to get work online. Again, don’t make a move until you’re sure these pages are the best they can be!

5. YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE FRIENDS: Writing can be such a lonely, discouraging business. I’ve gotten very involved with mystery writing organizations (Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America,) and joined Romance Writers and other groups and blogs such as Fiction That Sells and Girlfriends Book Club and Killer Characters. I also have a very supportive and loyal writers group and a group blog ( The friends I’ve met have saved my sanity and supported me endlessly along the way. I highly recommend it!


Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series, launching this month with AN APPETITE FOR MURDER from NAL/Obsidian. You can order the book here and follow Lucy Burdette on Twitter, or Facebook, or on her website  She also blogs with Jungle Red Writers and at the Mystery Lovers Kitchen,


Posted in Author Interviews, The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

The Right Word

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 3, 2012

Isn’t it frustrating when you’re looking for a particular word and it doesn’t come to mind? It’s similar to remembering a person’s name. The word hovers in your subconscious but you are unable to bring it forth.

I’d written the following passage in book three of my paranormal trilogy but wasn’t sure about one adjective, and that was holding me up in my revisions:

Sudden dread pierced the veil of his thoughts. He hadn’t noticed, but the black vapor had seeped across the floor and oozed up his leg.

Shadowy fingers extended from its midst and dove into his chest. His heart squeezed as searing pain shot through him. Biting his lips to keep from screaming, he bent forward as far as his bound wrists would allow.

A voice entered his mind. “Tell me, Drift Lord, what know you of the rune? Where does your team plan to assemble with Nira Larsen’s sisters to recite the words?”

“You’ll never find out,” he gritted, barely able to speak. “We’ll say the verse and you’ll be dispelled forever to the underworld.”

The ephemeral fist tightened, and his vision tunneled into a red haze of pain.

But when I looked up ephemeral, it meant fleeting, temporary, short-lived. This wasn’t at all the meaning I wanted. What was it then? Something unreal, imaginary, without substance. I knew there was a word that would fit. So I used the built-in dictionary and thesaurus in Word and came up with these choices.

Ethereal: ghostly, otherworldly, insubstantial
Illusory: misleading, deceptive, imagined, unreal
Intangible: insubstantial, incorporeal, ethereal
Incorporeal: unreal, disembodied, ghostly, intangible

Okay, I’d nailed it. I changed this passage just so:

The illusory fist tightened, and his vision tunneled into a red haze of pain.

I’d stuck in the same word on the next page until I could find a substitute:

Loki’s ephemeral fingers twisted and probed, intensifying his agony. Magnor’s jaw throbbed from clenching his teeth. His nerves felt on fire. His heart raced like an out-of-control train, threatening to derail.

Loki, if you’ve seen the movie Thor, you’ll know is the Norse god’s foster brother and a mischief maker, to say the least. He figures as a villain in my Drift Lord series based on Norse mythology. Loki is also the bad guy in the upcoming Avengers movie. Popular fellow, eh? Anyway, I changed this passage to:

Loki’s incorporeal fingers twisted and probed, intensifying his agony. Magnor’s jaw throbbed from clenching his teeth. His nerves felt on fire. His heart raced like an out-of-control train, threatening to derail.

Believe it or not, I used the same word yet again in a sentence with a different meaning. This is why you write your story in the heat of the moment, when the words flow and you just want to get it all down on paper. Then you go back and scour through your manuscript one word at a time, sentence by sentence, and fix the word choices.

So here’s the next passage with a needed change:

And was this where the legend came from about the six sons of Thor uniting with the six daughters of Odin to chant the ancient words and prevent the coming darkness? Nira and Zohar were searching for a rune that she believed held the key to battling Loki. What if they both reached for ephemeral goals?

Is this the correct usage? What word do I really mean here? What I want to say is that their goals may be futile, as fleeting as dreams and as vaporous.

Oh, that’s a good word. Let’s look it up. Vaporous can have different meanings.

Gaseous: misty, steamy, cloudy, ethereal, indistinct, wraithlike
Volatile: unstable, unpredictable, explosive
Insubstantial: nebulous, evanescent, ephemeral, ethereal
Fanciful: unreal, insubstantial, implausible

Wow, so many choices! And ephemeral is one of them. But that’s not quite what I meant for that word. What does evanescent mean? I looked it up. It’s momentary, fleeting, passing, transient. Nope, that’s not it. I want that sense of futility. How about nebulous? Hazy, unclear, vague. Uh uh, that isn’t the right word, either. Illusory? Meaning: illusive, imagined, unreal. I’m getting there! Illusive: False, misleading, imagined, erroneous, unreal, deceptive.

Yes, I like this one! Here’s the change:

And was this where the legend came from about the six sons of Thor uniting with the six daughters of Odin to chant the ancient words and prevent the coming darkness? Nira and Zohar were searching for a rune that she believed held the key to battling Loki. What if they both reached for illusive goals?

I get such an innate sense of satisfaction when I find the exact words I need. This process took me at least a half hour. You see why revisions take me a month or two? Being precise is important. After all, aren’t writers also called wordsmiths? That’s because we love to manipulate words on the written page.

Here’s another problem to look for: word repetitions.

“So we have to climb the fence somewhere or find a break in it.” Erika moistened her lips. “I don’t suppose you have wire cutters hidden in a pocket somewhere?”

I changed this last sentence to: “I don’t suppose you have wire cutters hidden in one of your pockets?”

Or here’s another one: Did it matter that he’d leave her in the end? No matter how long they had together, at least she’d experience what it meant to be a wife.

New version: Did it matter that he’d leave her in the end? Never mind how long they might have together, at least she’d experience what it meant to be a wife.

Watch out for repeating phrases as well. Yes, “as well” is one of mine. I have to keep an eye out for that one. You can never be too alert when revising your manuscript.


Wednesday, January 4, follow my discussion on the January Doldrums at The Kill Zone.

Friday, January 6, join us here with guest blogger and mystery author Roberta Isleib.

Leave a comment during my January blog tour and enter to win a set of Paua shell jewelry and a signed copy of Shear Murder.

Posted in The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Author Appearances

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 2, 2012

January begins the launch window for Shear Murder, my new Bad Hair Day mystery starring hairstylist sleuth Marla Shore. You’ll be hearing a lot from me regarding blog tours, interviews, personal appearances, and such. If you missed my notice yesterday, please check out the January/February issue of Southern Writers Magazine. I’m on the cover and inside in a feature article.

My only personal appearance this month, aside from speaking engagements to private groups, is at a conference:

Friday & Saturday, January 27-28, “Celebrating Florida Writers and Writing, Space Coast Writers Guild Conference, Palms International Resort, 1300 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, 32931, 321-783-2271. Besides mentoring, I’ll be speaking on “Working with an Agent” on Friday at 4:50pm.

Please put these signing dates on your calendar for next month:

Friday, February 17, 7:00, Literary Tea with Author Nancy J. Cohen, Well Read Books, South Harbor Plaza, 1374 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316. 954-467-8878. Refreshments served: Cookies and more!

Sunday, February 19, 4:00pm, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444, 561-279-7790, Refreshment served: Wine and Cheese!

Here is my blog tour schedule for January. Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of Shear Murder and a set of Paua shell jewelry.

Sunday, January 1, 2012, The Big Thrill, Topic: Author Interview

Wednesday, January 11, 2012, It’s Not All Gravy, Topic: Guest Interview

Friday, January 13, 2012, Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, Topic: Character Quirks

Monday, January 16, 2012, Author Expressions, Topic: Guest Interview

Friday, January 20, 2012, Jungle Red Writers, Topic: Conferences, Cocktails, and Coffee

Sunday, January 22, 2012, Buried Under Books, Topic: Setting as Inspiration

Wednesday, January 25, 2012, Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book, Topic: Weddings and Murder

Monday, January 30, 2012, Savvy Authors, Topic: Concluding a Series

Posted in Author Interviews, Business of Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

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