Nancy's Notes From Florida

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

Archive for March, 2012

Naples Zoo

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 26, 2012

Day 2 on Florida’s west coast found us gobbling breakfast at Mel’s Diner. Don’t mistake this one with another franchise of the same name further south. The buildings look nothing alike.

   

After filling our stomachs, we headed for the Naples Zoo where we got an early start before the temperatures soared. Graced by century-old trees that rose magnificently toward the sky, covered with leafy vines, many of them had enough roots and branches to nest a substantial tree house. I admired the foliage more than the animals as we strolled along the trail. Having been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom many times, I gave a cursory glance to the black bears, giraffes, tigers, coyotes, leopards, and alligators on display. There were snakes, poison dart frogs, parrots, lemurs, and other interesting creatures.

          

         

       

Lizard

This little fellow is signifcant in Warrior Prince, book one in my Drift Lords paranormal series.

Hungry again, we ate hot dogs at the café. By now we were hot and sweaty after having walked all the way around, so we skipped the animal shows and the short jungle cruise and left to cool off in the nearby Coastland Center Mall. We spent some time here and then slowly made our way back to the hotel for a rest. We’d moved to the Holiday Inn Express for night number two.

Recommended shops in the Bonita Springs area: Trader Joe’s for interesting food items; Best of Everything and Charming Charlie for accessories—hats, jewelry, scarves, handbags, wallets, etc. Fun places to visit!

We dined at Pinchers Crab Shack which had a mob of people, testifying to its popularity with the natives. I had grilled shrimp with a tasty broccoli salad and garlic mashed potatoes. My husband had crab cakes. The food was good as was the service and ambiance.

Day 3, we headed north on I-75 again to Estero where we spend a couple of hours at Miromar Outlets before my next talk for the Southwest Florida Romance Writers. This workshop was on how to write a mystery. I’m a member of the chapter so it’s always good to see my writing pals on this coast of Florida. It’s a great chapter if you live in this area.

         

Then it was time to come home and get ready for next week’s event, the UCF Book Festival.

Posted in Florida Musings, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bonita Springs, FL

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 25, 2012

En route to a luncheon with the Friends of Bonita Springs Library, we crossed Alligator Alley which runs between the western border of Fort Lauderdale and Naples, FL. Unlike other times, I didn’t spot a single gator. Maybe it was because the water level was high or the weather was warm, but they must have been underwater. On one previous excursion, I’d counted over 20 gators one-way.

The sea of wheat-brown sawgrass extended as far as the eye can see. Birds were plentiful. After a half hour into the ride, the scrub brush increased as we obtained higher ground into the cypress preserve. It takes ninety minutes to reach the other side. Here we exited I-75 north at exit 116 and headed west to Route 41 or the Tamiami Trail. A quick turn north brought us to the lovely country club where the luncheon was held. Manicured lawns, colorful flowers, and graceful palms made a lush setting.

I enjoyed meeting the ladies from the library group, nearly ninety people. We ate a delicious lunch and then I gave my talk. This consisted of an overview of my Bad Hair Day mystery series, the life of working writer, and the state of publishing today. After quoting some statistics about the rise of ebooks and the decline of mass market paperbacks, I discussed the effects of the digital revolution on booksellers, librarians, readers, and authors. Following my speech, I signed books and thanked the organizers for inviting me.

     

    

From here, my husband and I checked into the Bonita Bay Trianon Hotel. Located next to the Promenade outdoor shopping center, this elegant four-story hotel has an attractive lobby and an adjacent lakeside restaurant. We unloaded our luggage and then strolled through the shopping center which, although beautifully designed and with upscale stores, was deadsville.

Coconut Point, a bit north on Rt. 41, was more lively. An outdoor shopping center, it boasts many interesting shops and restaurants as well as standard stores you see everywhere. After walking around here, we were hot and tired and retreated to our hotel.

We dined at the Lake House Bar and Grill. The food was tasty and we sipped our chardonnay while admiring the tranquil lake view. Our hotel room was spacious, the bathroom even larger than our master bath at home with a stall shower and a tub.

 

 

Tomorrow: Naples Zoo and More!

Posted in Florida Musings, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Shear Murder Review

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 19, 2012

Shear Murder, the tenth in Nancy J. Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mystery series, features beauty-shop owner/ amateur sleuth Marla Shore. In this outing, Marla and fiance Dalton Vail are planning their own wedding and building a new house. Marla is delighted to serve as a member of her friend Jill’s bridal party, until, at the wedding reception, she discovers the matron-of-honor, Jill’s sister, Torrie, murdered under the cake table.

Jill and her sister weren’t as close as one might imagine; they had argued over commercial property that they co-owned. Torrie also knew a secret involving Jill’s past. These facts lead Marla to suspect that Jill might be implicated in her sister’s death. And when Marla investigates, she finds herself in peril.

Shear Murder, like its predecessors in the series, is a fast moving, humorous mystery. Cohen offers insight into the world of beauty salons in addition to providing a suspenseful cozy read. She fills its pages with a veritable host of intriguing characters, some of whom are culled from the earlier books. She thoughtfully provides a cast listing at the beginning of the book. It was a pleasure for this reader to catch up with familiar characters, such as Goat, who is Marla’s neighbor, Anita, her mother, Roger Gold, Anita’s boyfriend, and Brianna, Dalton’s daughter.

It is not necessary to have read the earlier books to thoroughly enjoy this one. But having read it, one might well want to find out more about Marla and Dalton, and how their previous adventures led to where they find themselves at the end of Shear Murder.

–Stephanie Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore.

BUY NOW!

Posted in Book Reviews | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Florida Strawberry Festival

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 18, 2012

I’ve always wanted to attend the Florida Strawberry Festival and we finally got the chance a few weeks ago. I skipped out on the last day of Sleuthfest so we could pile into the car and drive west on I-4 to Plant City.

From here we followed signs to the festival. Parking was haphazard in school parking lots or on people’s lawns where they charged $4-$5 for the day. From most lots, it was a few blocks walk to the festival grounds. Admission costs $10 per person for adults.

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Once through the gate, we stared in awe at the carnival rides, games of chance, junk food booths, schlock vendors, and more. We never did find the livestock but we strode through several buildings with flea market type stalls. We stopped in a historical exhibit and looked at the strawberry patch demo.

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All types of goods were for sale but these didn’t interest us. We’d come for the food. As it was lunchtime, we grabbed hot dogs and then couldn’t resist melted mozzarella sticks. Now for dessert.

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Not only could you buy flats of fresh strawberries, but you could sample all sorts of concoctions like strawberry funnel cakes; strawberry sundaes, smoothies, and milkshakes; strawberry pies and cookies; chocolate-dipped strawberries. Besides the fruity treats, every other fast food or junk snack you’ve ever encountered can be found at this fairground.

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The best offer was the make-your-own strawberry shortcake sponsored by a church group. This venture must bring them enough income for the year. We paid $3.50 each. In return, you get a plastic bowl and a fork. You get in line and a lady scoops a round shortcake into your vessel. Then you proceed along and ladle syrupy strawberries into the bowl followed by dollops of frothy whipped cream.

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Sitting at a picnic table or standing among the mob, you spoon the sweet gooey mess into your mouth. By the time you reach the last morsel, you’re sick to death of strawberries. At least, we couldn’t look at another strawberry nor buy so much as a pint of them on our exit.

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We did buy the strawberry bread to take home from one of the farm vendors, and that was well worth it. It’s delicious and not too sweet, unlike the cookie sample that we couldn’t finish. I’d definitely buy this again. But I think I’ll stick to blueberries for a while, thank you.

Nancy at Festival

The Queen and the Princess

So what good strawberry recipes do you have to share?

Posted in Florida Musings, Food | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

The Joys of Aging

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 15, 2012

Are you troubled by stiff joints, receding gums and thinning hair? No? Consider yourself lucky or too young to read this column. Here’s another problem to worry about.

On Tuesday, I started getting flashes in my right eye of slivers of light. Then a new floater appeared. I’d had this before, like a little spot that floats around in your vision, but this new one was more annoying, like a hair hanging over my face. I let it go for a day, hoping the visual effects would fade away. But then the next day, I started seeing an occasional dark shadow at the bottom of my visual range. I got alarmed. These could be signs of retinal detachment, a medical emergency.   eye

I found a retinal specialist group right nearby. Their office opened at 8:00 am, and the three doctors were available 24/7 for emergency calls. I phoned on Wednesday morning at 8:05, and after hearing my symptoms, the receptionist said, “Come right in.”

Why can’t all doctor groups be as accommodating to patients as this one?

This is why I pay a lot of money for a health insurance policy that’s a PPO. I don’t need a referral and can go to any doctor I choose.

I downloaded the new patient forms that were conveniently online and filled them out before leaving the house. The office was less than ten minutes away. I checked in and didn’t have to wait long at all to be called. A technician did the initial exam, checking my vision wearing my various pairs of reading and distance glasses, and taking a pressure reading which was fine. Then she put in drops to dilate my eyes.

eye exam      eyeglasses

Twenty minutes later, the doctor examined me. He said I didn’t have any retinal tears or detachments. However, the symptoms are the same. What happens as you get older, is that the vitreous gel inside the eye becomes dense and pulls away from the surface of the retina. When the gel is too thick, sometimes it adheres to the retina and causes a tear. If fluid passes behind the tear, it can cause a retinal detachment. When untreated, this can lead to blindness. Treatment may be done in the office or in the operating room, depending upon the situation.

retina

The doctor said there’s nothing you can do to prevent this problem. It just occurs. I should come in again if I see a cascade of light flashes, a meteor shower of floaters, or have blurring or vision loss in one part of the eye. So I left the office feeling much relieved that I don’t have any tears or detachment right now, but aware that as this posterior vitreous detachment occurs, there’s still the possibility.

I’ll return for an exam in a month, barring any changes. Meanwhile, the floater is annoying but I’ll have to get used to it.

So watch out for these warning signs and add them to your list of What Goes Wrong as you age. Have any of you had a similar experience?

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Coming Friday: I’m guest blogging at Denise Agnew’s site on WRITING IN DIFFERENT GENRES: http://deniseagnew.com/blog

Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , | 16 Comments »

Dialogue by Gender

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 13, 2012

You Talking to Me?
By Camille Minichino
                        Camille

Now and then I stray from mysteries and plunge into nonfiction. One of the latest books to set me thinking was “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words say About Us,” by J. Pennebaker, a social psychologist and language expert.

The whole book is fascinating—computer programs that yield insights into our personalities by counting and categorizing words from thousands of emails, letters, and personal ads. I was especially interested in a chapter on how men and women “speak” in books and movies. Which writers have both men and women sounding like men? (Shakespeare and Quentin Tarantino.) Both men and women sounding like women? (Gertrude Stein and Woody Allen.) Men sounding like men and women sounding like women? (Sam Shepard and Thornton Wilder.)

I’ve been wondering where I am on the spectrum. Do my female characters use more personal pronouns, as suggested by Pennebaker’s research? Do my male characters shy away from social words, in favor of action words?

My research for dialogue doesn’t involve computers, but rather careful listening to men and women of all ages and walks of life. I query my 35-year-old nephew on his language (“Do you call everyone ‘Dude’?”); my 50-year-old friends (“How much Net Lingo do you use?”); and my 9-year-old granddaughter (“What do you say when you think something is pretty?”)

But numbers appeal to me and I’m thinking about applying Pennebaker’s computational methods to the postings of my students in an online course that I teach for a college in San Francisco. That is, the payroll office and the Help Desk are in San Francisco; I’m at home in a suburb thirty miles away and my students are all over the world.

With an international student body working in cyberspace, I often don’t know the gender of some of my students. At first this was disconcerting. How could I know how to respond to a posting if I didn’t know whether it came from a man or a woman? I’ve had first names such as Jigme, Myint-San, Widya, Lieu, and many more that are unpronounceable. I longed to have a photo, an audio file, or some indication of the student’s gender. Maybe he or she would refer to a wife or husband. Of course in some states, that still wouldn’t be a clue.

Even some “American” names are gender-neutral. Was the Sean I had last term a girl, like the actress Sean Young, or a guy, like the actor Sean Penn? How about Jordan? Lee? Alex? Casey?

Now, with the analytic techniques of computer linguistics, I should be able to apply some simple tests and counting procedures to determine which of my students is male, which female.

But, wait. Does it matter?

Did writers of an earlier day fool anyone by using initials only, or pen names of the opposite gender? Or were readers counting the number of personal pronouns and saying, “Aha! Too many I’s and we’s. I’ll bet this is really a woman.”

Does it help to know the gender perspective of the person who wrote the posting, or the mystery novel? Or does it hinder our ability to absorb the message objectively?

I’m not sure, but I know I’m going to get out my calculator and examine the dialogue as I write my next manuscript.

****        Camille Cover

Camille Minichino is a retired physicist turned writer.

As Camille Minichino, she’s the author of the Periodic Table Mysteries. As Margaret Grace, she writes the Miniature Mysteries, based on her lifelong hobby. As Ada Madison, she writes the academic mysteries featuring Professor Sophie Knowles, college math teacher. “The Probability of Murder” was released March 6.

Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series.

Website: http://www.minichino.com
FB: http://tinyurl.com/minichino
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/minichino

THE HYDROGEN MURDER re-issued on Kindle: http://amzn.to/Af4UO1

THE PROBABILITY OF MURDER (March 6): http://amzn.to/xGvCnP

MIX-UP IN MINIATURE (April 2): http://amzn.to/wpR2m9

Posted in Writing Craft | Tagged: , | 36 Comments »

Charlaine Harris

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 12, 2012

Sleuthfest: Part 5

Charlaine Harris
Charlaine Harris began her keynote speech by giving an entertaining description of her typical day and all the requests she fields. She discussed how her writing schedule has changed and how the publishing industry has altered in the past ten years. It’s a challenge to agents and publishers as contract negotiations have changed forever. The traditional model may be going the way of the dinosaurs. The difference between traditionally published books in the bookstore and self-published e-books is editing. And to conclude, “All books benefit from editing.”

Charlaine Harris

Indie editors are on the rise. Some are professional; others take advantage of newbie authors. So while e-books are here to stay, they bring along a lot of baggage. Regarding TV/film sales: Be prepared to concede certain rights or walk away from the deal. Charlaine says that when people meet an author, right away they demand to know if you’ve sold to TV or the movies. Writers are in the entertainment industry. We want to deliver our books to readers anyway we can, even if it’s an e-book carried in your purse. Her advice to aspiring authors: “Read, read, read. Put your butt in the chair and write.”

Nancy and Charlaine

Nancy Cohen and Charlaine Harris


Does Your Muse Need A Makeover?
Lisa Unger, Peter Abrahams, and Julie Kramer, with Elaine Viets moderating.


Lisa began by stating how her first publisher turned down her option book, but she was lucky that another publishing house picked it up. Peter reinvented himself as a YA author. And then he wrote a first-person story from a dog’s viewpoint. His agent suggested he take on a pen name when he started writing with broader humor within the crime fiction genre. Julie’s work got darker over time. She’d already been orphaned by her first publisher. Afraid her current publisher was about to cancel the series, she killed off a significant character. It shook the series up. Peter advises authors to “Have the story come out of you rather than following the latest trend. Find that unique part of you and blow it up.” Lisa says, “Have respect for your own voice.” And Julie wished that she’d changed from journalism to writing fiction a lot sooner.

Stretching Credibility
Marcia Talley, Mary Ann Evans, Nancy Cohen, Julie Kramer, moderated by Bob Williamson

We discussed how we keep our characters real in the midst of absurdity, like dead bodies popping up everywhere in amateur sleuth stories. We talked about the daily news as a source of tales stranger than fiction, and how we might use humor to involve our sleuth in “over the top” situations or as a behavior to mask uncertainty. Grounding the stories are the sleuth’s personal relationships.

Saturday evening, we enjoyed the Sleuthfest cocktail party with appetizing hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. This gave attendees the opportunity to mingle with editors and agents in a social setting. Following was bestselling author Heather Graham’s dinner party at Disney’s House of Blues. The food was amazing and the entertainment—with Heather as vocalist and MWA members in the band—was lively. People danced and chatted and it was great fun. Many thanks to Heather for her generosity in sponsoring this event!

Michael Meeske, Kathleen Pickering, Nancy Cohen, Traci Hall

You can view my Sleuthfest 2012 Photo Album on my Facebook Author Page. Please “Like” the page while you’re there!

Sunday morning wrap sessions and a discussion with the keynote speakers ended the conference, but I skipped out to go to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City.

Coming Tuesday: Guest Blogger and Mystery Author Camille Minichino

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Editors Roundtable

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 11, 2012

Sleuthfest: Part 4

Editors Roundtable

Annette Rogers from Poisoned Pen Press said unagented submissions are okay and they are looking for new, unpublished authors. They do mysteries only, not thrillers. Some of their bestselling books are historicals. They have 120 writers. They’re running a contest for previously unpublished mystery authors, so check it out. There’s a $1000 prize and a quick response. Otherwise, submissions may take 2 to 3 months for a response. She likes a calculating, evil villain. Don’t start with backstory. Jump right into the action. Then she looks for author voice. As for topics, she likes unusual settings. World War II is over, and nobody wants to read about Vietnam. However, she’d like a good story about Iraq or Afghanistan as long as it’s not political. She says to send a query letter and then she’ll let you know if she wants to see anything else.

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Abby Zidle from Pocket and Gallery Books reported that business has shrunk with ebooks and the loss of Borders. They’re looking for big airport-type stories that they can do in hardcover and follow up with mass market. These are mainly suspense. They will do cozies, i.e. craft and food mysteries, in trade paperback as long as they’re not too narrow a niche. Gallery does the trade paperbacks and hardcovers. All have simultaneous ebook releases. Regarding true crime, it depends on how hot and accessible the story is, if she’d be interested. They take only agented submissions, or you can mention that you met her at a conference or heard her speak at one.

Denise Dietz from Five Star Publishing says, “If you drop a dream, it breaks. Don’t give up.” She claims she can fix a book if the voice is there. So she’s primarily looking for voice. What does this mean? You pick up book two or three from an author and you say, that sounds like so and so. It’s unique and distinct. Too many people need to show, not tell. And she’s not looking for a book opening with a weather report. Don’t have your character meet somebody alone in the cemetery at night. Another pet peeve — the killer explains everything at the final confrontation. The most important factors to her characterization, voice, and pacing. You can send her a query letter and she’ll send you the submission guidelines.

Pat Van Wie from Belle Bridge Books would like to see Apocalypse or post-Apocalypse stories, hard-edged thrillers and suspense. They accept cozies but she may pass it on to another editor. She prefers hard-edged material and would be interested in true crime.

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Deni Deitz and Pat Van Wie

Robert Gussin from Oceanview Publishing says they put out one book per month and have about 50 authors. They’re looking for exciting, fast-paced stories in the mystery/suspense/thriller genres. He advises authors to build depth of character. Write truly what you know. They like credibility, i.e. a doctor who writes medical mysteries, a pilot who write books about airplanes, or a lawyer who writes courtroom dramas. Half the books they get are about Middle Eastern terrorists, so if you write one, it had better be different. They do hardcover and ebooks with a two book contract. The first book will later come out in trade paperback. About three books per month are going to audio. They take agented submissions only, unless you are previously traditionally published, you’ve met him at a conference, or you’ve heard him speak on a panel.

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Nancy Cohen and Deni Dietz

All of my photos are available in the Sleuthfest 2012 Album on my Facebook Author Page.  Please “Like” my page while you’re there!

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Power of Publicity

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 8, 2012

The Power of Publicity, Part I
Sandra Balzo, Terrie Moran, Joanne Sinchuk, Jerry Healy, moderated by Deborah Sharp

The panelists first spoke about tips for getting noticed. Sandra advises authors to determine your audience and go there. For example, her series is set a coffee shop. So she’s presented at coffee conferences, written an article in trade magazines, and done events at coffee houses.

Joanne, manager of Murder on the Beach mystery bookstore, suggests you start your publicity six months before publication date. Also six months before, begin networking, set up your website, and start participating on the social networks. Understand your audience and target your market. She cautions writers not to send glitter or confetti or chocolate in the mail to reviewers or booksellers. Also, don’t ask every blogger out there if they’ll give you a free interview spot.

It takes 3 to 5 hits to get noticed online. Terrie says to take advantage of opportunities you might not have anticipated. Always be nice. Join MWA and sisters in crime. Criminal element.com is a community website for fans of crime fiction with over 10,000 hits per day, so check this out.

Jerry said you should hit local newspapers. Offer to speak at high schools and libraries. And don’t neglect local cable access TV.

Deborah suggested you develop a thick skin over signings where no one shows up.

And you should be syndicating your blog to other sites.

The Power of Publicity, Part 2
Joanne Campbell Slan, Nancy Cohen, Joan Hartwig, Jeffrey Marks, moderated by Linda Hengerer
Publicity Panel

We discussed what has worked for us and what has not. Joan has done book fairs and festivals and local book clubs. Jeffrey Marks, who’s written a book on marketing for writers called Intent to Sell, discussed social networking as a promotional tool. Joanne found it fun to run a party on her Facebook author page with guest author spots and giveaways.

Here are the highlights of my recent promo campaign. You can use it as a guideline for yours.

ADS
Romance Sells: $200 for an ad, sponsored by RWA to reach 6500 booksellers and librarians. Members only.  http://www.rwanational.org

BLOGS
Personal Blog, Group Blogs, Blog Tour–Solicit Hosts; Determine Topics; Write Blogs; Publish Schedule; Prizes for Blog Commenters

BOOK CLUBS
Offer Discussion Questions for Book Clubs

BOOK TRAILER

CONFERENCES

CONTESTS and GIVEAWAYS
Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways
$99 for a Contest on FreshFiction and you get to keep the list of entrants
Personal Blog and Website Monthly Contests

NEWSLETTER
I use http://www.verticalresponse.com for mass mailing email newsletters and have sign up widgets on my website and FB author page.

PRESS COVERAGE
With Shear Murder, my latest mystery release, I’ve been featured in Florida Weekly, Southern Writers Magazine, and The Island Reporter. These came about through social networking or by contacting people I noticed online.

PRINT MATERIALS
Bookmarks, flyers, postcards, Romance Trading Cards.

QR CODES
We discussed adding QR codes to business cards. People with smart phones can scan these and you can set them to go to your website, Amazon author page, or elsewhere.

REVIEWS
Determine Target Reviewers, Write Query Letters, Mail ARCs, Check for Reviews, Post Quotes on your Website; Thank Reviewer.

SOCIAL NETWORKING
Facebook, Twitter, Networked Blogs, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google +, and more. Does it sell books? Who knows? But it definitely gets your name out there.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & SIGNINGS
Set these up four to six months in advance. Post schedule on your website and elsewhere online.

SWAG
Magnets, pens, and other giveaways. It helps if they’re related to your book in some manner.

WEBSITE
Make sure you add Buy links to your book when they become available. Refresh content often, and include some fun pages like recipes or bonus world building details for readers.

Coming Next: Editors Roundtable

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

Jeffery Deaver

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 7, 2012

Sleuthfest: Part 2

In his keynote luncheon speech on Friday, bestselling author Jeffery Deaver said, “Writing is a craft, and it can be largely taught.” He writes multi-length thrillers in the crime genre. There are certain rules that he follows.   

Rule One: “Writing is a business. We are manufacturers of our product, not ‘artistes’. We are professionals and meet our deadlines.” We work with partners, who are publishers, booksellers, etc.

Rule Two: “We need a business model.” Who is your audience? Write for your fans, to make them happy and to keep them turning pages.

Rule Three: Your book should move like lightning. What’s going to happen next? Write a compelling book. Move the story forward. It shouldn’t just be interesting but should cause sweaty palms.

Rule Four: We don’t want the book to digress. For example, his tales move so fast that there’s no time for a romantic interlude.

Rule Five: Avoid “give me a break” moments, or things that are illogical or convenient excuses.

Rule Six: Do not have ambiguous endings. Have a definite resolution. Jeffery prefers happy endings for his stories.

Rule Seven: Make your characters real and give them depth. The good guy should have flaws and the bad guy should have niceties.

Rule Eight: We rewrite. Jeffery writes a first draft quickly and then rewrites.

Where do his ideas come from? “I look for an idea that will scare you and keep you turning pages.” He does an outline and research first.

What the fans think is more important than reviews. Find out what people are saying about your book. Jeffery prefers to keep the gore off-camera and to focus on the emotional component of suspense.

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Disclaimer: Any errors in interpretation or transcription are mine.

Coming Next: The Power of Publicity

Posted in Conferences, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , | 14 Comments »

 
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