Thursday, December 13, 2018

How I Learned the Hard Way by Juliana Aragon Fatula

This week I taught  my Bridging Borders students how to write poetry. I'm a poet and I know it. I'm a good poet. Maybe even a great poet. But I'm not yet a great mystery writer. I had to learn the hard way how much work, effort, determination, and skill the great writers, the master writers use to write a great mystery.

Well, I finished my first draft. Bah humbug. It stinks. That's okay. My first meatloaf tasted like shoe leather. Today I'm a great cook. This I know. Like my mother, I know how to make tamales, etc. etc. etc.

I just stole that from the King and I. Ha.

So I did the brave thing writers must do and I submitted my manuscript to a wonderful writer who I trust and admire to read and give me feedback. And she did. She did an incredible job and I owe her big time for her experience and wisdom. I am proud to be her mentee. I have several great master writer friends. That's what gives me an advantage. I learn from my master writer friends and I know when I've not written a great book but instead a good book. It's a great main character that everyone loves and wants more of. But my skills in writing my story need to be fine tuned, like an instrument. I must learn to play solo without my teachers.

I'm prepared to do the work. I've resolved myself to this task. It's my new bucket list. I mean we're all dying, right. Someday I'll fly high in the sky with a bird and I want to leave my words behind. My great words. Not my good words.

In truth, I'm blessed with a great husband and great son who love me and I'm spoiled with technology. Some of this tech stuff, I don't even know how to use, but I'm learning something new everyday. I put on my beats blue tooth headphones, turn on audio books, select a good book, and listen to a digital book.

It's fascinating. I fall asleep with the book going and have to rewind what I missed while I'm sleeping. I've read a few great books already and I'm on my way to writing reviews of these great books, just give me time to adjust to my new attitude. I appreciate all of you readers who want to read my poems, watch my facebook cooking videos, and who attend my workshops and readings at bookstores. I love you. Keep reading, writing, and mastering the art of being a writer.

The Crazy Chicana in Catholic City
Red Canon Falling on Churches
The Road I Ride Bleeds

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Joy to My World

by Bethany Maines

As the year draws to a close, I find myself doing the usual assessment of what I did this year and what I’ll be doing next year.  But this year, I’m trying to concentrate on evaluating more through the lens of not just financial success, but emotional success.  What was fun for me?  Because if a creative project doesn’t bring me joy, why am I spending valuable emotional time on it?

One of the joyful projects of my year was Blue Christmas. I like romantic adventures that find characters swept up in dangerous events.  And I liked turning a Christmas Carol into something that’s not quite so sweet and sugary.  I also find myself already pondering what Christmas carol I can do next year.  Santa Baby?  Sleigh Ride?  Mele Kalikimaka?  Gabriel’s Message?  What message could Gabriel be getting and how could it upend his life? Or what message is he sending?  Who is this Gabe guy anyway?  A struggling coffee shop owner soured on love by the barista who left him cold?  A photographer who just cannot take one more fake happy family photo for the holidays? The possibilities are endless and so are the Christmas Carols. 

Another project that made me happy this year was the SharkSantoyo series.  This action packed five book series follows the ups and downs of Peregrine Hays and Shark Santoyo as they try to outwit the mob, the FBI and Peri’s private investigator uncle.  I loved creating the overarching storyline, the quirky characters, the bad guys with hearts of gold, and the bad guys that were just plain bad.  I loved the characters and I’m hoping that people will enjoy the roller-coaster ride along with them.  (Book #3 comes out in April 2019!)

2018 was a great year for exploring the characters I love and what I want to write. Next up in my pondering: the best way to pursue what I love in 2019! 

PS. Have a suggestion for which Christmas carol I should turn into a story next?  Comment below!

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her fourth degree black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Peace to one and all

By Barbara Plum aka AB Plum

At this time of year, my cul-de-sac hops with holiday celebrations:
  • ·         Dewali (November 7)
  • ·         Hanukkah (December 2-10)
  • ·         Yule (December 21-January 21)
  • ·         Christmas (December 24-25)
  • ·         Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1)

I’m aware many people don’t celebrate at this time of year—for a variety of reasons. But. For family, friends, strangers, and non-celebrants, I send out a personal hope for peace to shine—if for only a moment—in your lives wherever you are.

**** Barbara Plum aka AB Plum lives off the Silicon Valley fast lane but in the shadow of Google. She writes light, funny paranormal romances and dark, gripping psychological thrillers. Both genres provide escape on long winter nights. Find her books here on Amazon and here.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Happy Holidays

I know there are writers out there with mad organizational skills. I am not one of them.

I'm more the I-think-I'm-forgetting-something sort. The writer who lifts her gaze from her computer screen and wonders if the kids are picked up, the dinner is made, and dog is walked. No, no, and no.

Which is how I realized that today is the second Monday of the month--my day on my favorite blog. I looked up from my screen and said, "EEEK!"

No I didn't. I said something much stronger.

At any rate, I looked up. And I wished I had a beautiful blog written about the meaning of the holidays, or my love of Christmas cookies, or why I am the only one in my house who has any wish to decorate. (I don't--not this year--but if I don't get moving soon Christmas will look like any other day.)

Wishes don't produce beautifully written blog posts.

And, this missive should have been posted more than six hours ago.

So, I'll simply say this--I wish you joy and peace and a season filled with love and laughter.

Also, does anyone have a good black-eyed pea recipe for New Year's? I need some luck in 2019!

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures. 

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.