On Hiatus

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A girl can dream.

Rather than to simply disappear for weeks on end, as I am wont to do, I thought I’d leave a note that I am taking a leave from blogging for a while.

The house needs a good spring cleaning, and I’m trying to write two books at once. April also brings our 25th wedding anniversary, my birthday, and Easter. It will be a busy month.

I may check in with your blogs now and then, but I hope to buckle down to writing and stop allowing myself to be so distracted.

Comments are closed. I’ll be starting today to sneak a few M&M’s, crank up the music, and write. See you in a few months!

Oh, Look! A Squirrel!

There are always fun lists around WordPress. A couple with irrationally-loved things caught my attention lately. I thought I’d share one thing I irrationally love:ImageEver since we bought our first computer nineteen years ago, I’ve been in love with fonts. When we homeschooled, we put out a monthly newsletter for the grandparents and spiced it up with fonts. I would peruse them for hours at a time, searching for just the right ones.

ImageImageImageLast evening, I was searching for a font, and I looked at all of them on Font Squirrel. I loved the test drive feature and took several of them out for a ride.

ImageImageImageThe font in my blog header is Parisian. I specifically chose it because of my French heritage, but I also liked the clean lines and couldn’t resist the curl on the Rs.

ImageImageImageI tend to like and use fonts that are on the frilly side, but I appreciate all types.

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What about you? Do you like fonts? Are you as obsessed with them as I am?

By the way, the samples I included – they make a list of ten simple things I love.

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I caught up with a few blogs recently, but it will be a while before I’m on a regular blogging schedule again. If I haven’t been by to see you lately, I will soon. I’m still trying to rebuild my follow list. I had quite a few blogs disappear, and my reader is acting squirrelly lately and not showing all posts.

Fun, Laughter and a Touch of Murder

Maddie Cochere:

I woke up today to a very nice surprise. My new book, Murder Under Construction, has been reviewed at The Flyby Muse. I hope you’ll stop by to read it.

Originally posted on The Flyby Muse:

When the notion of e-books came out, I have to admit I was sceptical. A little saddened by the whole idea. I’ll go into that later.

I was wrong though.

I was wrong, because what I didn’t realise that e-books would allow a whole new market of writer to explode onto the scene. I’ve been exploring authors and delving into a whole plethora of genres which I wouldn’t normally try.

Which leads me on to a wonderful, witty and charming new writer I would love to share with you. Her name is Maddie Cochere, and she blogs at www.breezybooks.com.

Maddie has penned a whole series of novels based on a character called Susan Hunter – a mystery series with a blond, pink and girly lead. If you think this is a reason to stop reading now, wait!

She’s girly, yes. But she also kicks arse! She makes mistakes, she…

View original 392 more words

Creating Characters

ImageMany of the characters in my books were created from people I know or have known in real life. My mother recently commented that the characters in my new series remind her of our family. There’s a good reason for that, Mom.  Image

A few bloggers have made their way into my books in one fashion or another. The latest is my friend Jackie at To Breathe is to Write.

Last year, I was having a hard time completing Maple Leaf Hunter. I was afraid when it was finished, my writing days would be over. However, my blog post of May 15 tells how the idea for my new series came about. Here is part of Jackie’s comment that day:

“I TOLD YOU SO!!! I TOLD YOU YOU HAD MORE BOOKS IN YOU AND ONE DAY IT WOULD JUST POP OUT!!! … I am volunteering to be one of the sisters!!! or, one of the characters. hehehe. I just love the concept and can’t wait for the first book. Big hugs!!”

I responded:

“I can put you in the book as a character. A famous writer friend in the neighborhood!”

When I started writing the book, the new character was quick to surface. In the first chapter, Jackie rushed onto the scene as the town’s star journalist. A short time later, she muscled her way into the series title: Two Sisters and a Journalist. That wasn’t planned, but it works, and it still makes me laugh.

Real life Jackie portrays herself as a redhead in cartoons on her blog, she loves to cook, and Imageshe’s writing a novel. These same three things also describe the voluptuous Jackie character in my new series.

Here’s another snippet from my work in progress. This one highlights Jackie.

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Before he could respond and defend Officer Collins further, Jackie rushed in like a whirlwind. She glanced around the room. I knew she was taking stock of our appearance and demeanor.

It was obvious she had dashed right over. Usually impeccably dressed, she was wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt, with a sweater thrown on for warmth. Blessed with boobs, curves, and flowing red hair, Jackie was a siren. Howard’s eyes were shining and bulging as he unabashedly looked her up and down before noticing the blue pie box in her hands.

She moved to the table to look the girl over, sidled up to the coroner, and said, “It’s been a while, Howard. I thought you might like an apple pie since you’ll be working late tonight.” Her voice was sexy. I bit my lip again. She knew exactly how to play the man.

“My favorite,” he said. His eyes returned to her chest. “I can’t believe you remembered.”

She looked over at me and winked. I was going to have a hole in my lip if I bit any harder. She pointed to the body and asked, “Was this you?”

I shook my head. “Not this time. She fell out of the trunk of her cab over by the railroad tracks on Maple.”

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Jackie has interviewed me for her blog post today. I hope you’ll pop on over to say hello and read the interview. It was fun answering her questions.

Before you go, leave a comment and tell me how you come up with your characters.

Let’s Chat about Writing Dialogue

Not surprisingly, I’ve drifted away from blogs and social media lately. I’m determined to buckle down and finish Murder Is Where the Heart Is.

Because I wrote the book so quickly during National Novel Writing Month, over five thousand words have been tossed. There is a ton of rewriting yet to do. I’ll get there. I simply need to focus.

However, there is a special reason for posting to my blog today.

I originally started blogging to chronicle my writing experiences. For that reason, I want to mark another milestone. Today is my two-year anniversary of becoming a writer.

Woo-hoo! Break out the M&M’s!

I thought it fitting to pick a writing topic for this post.

I chose dialogue for two reasons. First, I enjoy writing dialogue. Second, my blog post of September 18, 2012 has page views every day. Is Your book Dialogue Heavy has been visited more times than any of my other posts.

In that post, I expressed my discontent with a book I had read that was packed full of dialogue. I wrote: I became weary of listening in on conversations. I was relieved when there were short bursts of description or information. The story moved too quickly with nearly all of it being told in dialogue. New characters came on the scene and added to the conversation with nary an introduction made.

I still feel the same way, but I also still believe that enjoyment or dissatisfaction with the amount of dialogue in a book is ultimately the personal preference of the reader.

Let’s move on today to writing dialogue. I have a few things to share.

When I first began writing, I realized the story was playing in my mind like a movie. It was easy to write what I was seeing and hearing. It’s still like that for me most of the time.

I read several articles about dialogue, and two simple things helped me the most.
- People don’t use perfect grammar when they speak.
- People usually use contractions when they speak.

Reading my dialogue aloud helps tremendously to hear if it sounds realistic or not.

I often envision favorite television or movie actors playing out scenes. My Jo Ravens character isn’t blonde, but at times, I envision her facial expressions, manner of speaking, and even her laughter, as that of Katherine Heigl’s. It worked perfectly as I wrote the following short scene from my work in progress.

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(Quick setup: Jo is at a wedding reception. The adults are avoiding her.)

I sat at a table where two young boys were playing with handheld video games. The boys were oblivious to my presence until I popped the second meatball into my mouth. One of them scowled at me.

“Hey, you got me in trouble.”

My eyes widened. I held back a smile. “I did not,” I said.

“Did too,” he said.

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

I leaned forward, stared the kid down, and asked, “How did I get you in trouble?”

“Geez, lady, once you started laughing, I started laughing, too.”

The second boy finally looked up from his game and said, “Me, too.”

The first boy finished his tale of woe. “My mom pinched me to make me stop laughing. It hurt like crazy.” He lifted his shirtsleeve to show a small bruise.

I gave him a look of sympathy and mouthed a silent, “Wow.”

“My mom gave me the death stare,” the second boy said. “That kept me from laughing.”

I pulled my lips in between my teeth and bit down, struggling to hold back laughter. I finally said, “Well, you have to admit, the helicopter was pretty funny. So was the preacher taking a dive.” I raised one eyebrow, smiled at the boys, and nodded my head to encourage them to agree with me.

The second boy laughed and said, “I know! I’ve never seen a preacher move so fast.”

The first boy put his hand over his mouth in an attempt to stifle a laugh, but a sourpuss woman quickly extinguished it for him when she tugged his arm hard enough to lift him out of his chair and whisk him away. The second boy might as well have been tugged, too, because he was gone in a flash.

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Dialogue. It’s my favorite part of writing.

Share your best tips. What helps you write dialogue?

140 Characters

I’ve chosen my 140 characters for my ad in Jason SurfrApp’s upcoming book, Creativity for Sale.

After mulling over all of your great suggestions, and then doing a bit of research on book and movie taglines, I came up with this for my submission:

Two sassy women from Ohio. One finds criminals. One finds dead bodies. They should meet. Books by Maddie Cochere – www.breezybooks.com

Want to know some of my thought process behind the line?

- I like the deadpan feel of the saying. I decided against using exclamation marks or trying to force the humor aspect.

- The word “sassy” gives the lighter feel I want to impart. The word fits both main characters – lively, bold, and full of spirit.

- Using “criminals” and “dead bodies” denotes the tone of the books. Granted, Susan unwittingly finds criminals, but that minor point isn’t important for the tag. If someone clicks through to the webpage, they are going to find pink and the words, “chick lit” and “humorous mysteries.” It will be obvious my books aren’t gritty, hardcore mysteries.

- I really do think the two main characters should meet…

ImageOh, wait. They will. My new book project for this year will have Susan Hunter traveling to Southeast Ohio to assist in the grand opening of a Slimmers Weight Loss. Jo Ravens and her sister are always trying new ways to lose weight, and they will be right there for the grand opening.

I can’t wait to see their reactions to each other.

Help Me Write 140 Characters

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November 26, 2013 was an unusual day for me. I did something outside the box.

I know I was running on about three hours of sleep. A snowstorm was on its way. My email to Rich that morning was whiny.

It was two days before Thanksgiving, and I was supposed to be writing my book for National Novel Writing Month. Instead, I was over at the Kindle Boards, where I am a serial lurker in the Writer’s Café.

On this day, Jim Kukral started a new thread: Creative book funding: Sponsormybook.com  He commented, “If you haven’t seen how this guy is funding his book, you should.”

The first thought that ran through my head was, “Fund a book? Why would you need funding for your book?” There were no replies to Jim’s thread, and I almost went my semi-merry way.

Almost.

Jim also commented, “Get creative people!”

That’s what pulled me in.

I followed the link to the website. Some guy in a t-shirt was selling advertising on every page of his book about creativity. I watched his video. I liked him.

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(slightly cropped) Photo by Laura Evans Photography

I deduced he was a marketing genius. I thought it would be great to buy an ad in his book, but I knew his readers wouldn’t likely be my audience, so I clicked away to read other items of interest.

It wasn’t long before I was back at Jim’s post. This time, I watched the interview between t-shirt guy (Jason SurfrApp) and Jim Kukral. They talked about Jason wearing t-shirts for marketing, selling his last name to the highest bidder, and about success and failure. It was all very interesting, but two specific things stood out for me.

At the 22:18 mark, Jim mentions the ton of media coverage Jason has enjoyed, and they talk about how he will tap into that once again when he releases his book. Jason has been featured on/in The Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, and USA Today. He has written for Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur.

His book will likely be a best seller.

At the 25:00 mark, Jason talks about the ads at the bottom of each page. He indicates that everyone who buys an ad will have a feature on the bookmarking website next year.

I knew right then I wanted in. I can’t even wrap my head around what kind of exposure the ad plus the feature might mean for my books. Or not. But I had to try this unusual method of marketing.

It took a while to choose a page to sponsor. The front of the book was too pricey for me; the back of the book was taken. I opted for a page near the middle. Assuming the book will be traditionally printed, the odd-numbered pages will be on the right. I chose page 105. I’m excited to see what information lands on that particular page. (Jason, if it’s a blank page or the end of a chapter, please place a fun picture on the page. My books are fun!)

My ad can only be 140 characters to include my URL. How about giving me a hand?

I want to link to my website for my books. I think I should continue with my branding of easy-breezy reading, and I suppose I should mention my name in addition to the website.

ImageShort and sweet? Less is more? This might stand out in a sea of “larger” ads:

Breezy Books. Humorous mysteries by Maddie Cochere. www.breezybooks.com

Or something longer. I’m going round in circles with these phrases:

Easy-breezy reading from Breezy Books.
Do you enjoy humorous mysteries? Try books by Maddie Cochere.
Easy-breezy reading from Breezy Books and Maddie Cochere.
Light mysteries with romance and humor.

How would you put it all together? Did something else pop into your mind? I have a bit of brain lock on this.

There are still pages available in Jason’s book, Creativity for Sale. If you want to try some unique marketing for your book, product, or project, check out SponsorMyBook.