I can't believe it's fall already. The temps here in Arkansas are finally dipping lower, so I really can get into the fall mood. And it's SEC football season! My Hogs aren't doing well at all, but my Tigers are fierce.
It's been a sad couple of months of two of my most devoted readers have passed away, both unexpectedly and quickly. My prayers go out to their families. While I didn't know these ladies personally, we connected via my newsletter emails and on social media. They made me smile and laugh, and I feel honored that they shared some of their lives with me.
We just returned from Nashville, where we held the annual ACFW conference. What a fun time! See below for some of my pictures. I was so honored to receive recognition of hitting the best seller's list, as well as receiving a pin to mark the milestone of having 25 novels published.
I'm so excited about my upcoming release, Stratagem. Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.
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I had such a great time at ACFW this year....I always enjoy seeing friends I only see at conference, but this year, it just felt like it was more. Incredible. And, as usual, my hubby and I celebrated our anniversary at conference--29 years together! Here are a few pictures from our trip:
CURRENTLY WORKING ON...
I'm finishing up the last book in the Darkwater Inn trilogy! Book 2, Darkwater Lies will be out in March. This book I'm working on, Darkwater Truth is scheduled to release sometime next summer. I can't wait to figure out how Addy's story ends. I hope you enjoy the series as much as I've had fun writing it!
The Darkwater Secrets contest has come to an end and the winner is: Laura Shuck! Laura, email me your snail mail address so I can get your prize package in the mail!
Here is the prize package for the next contest: EXIT, the game-The Abandoned Cabin (an escape room game for the home), autographed copy of STRATAGEM, and a Mardi Gras themed stretch bookmark (made by my talented and awesome friend and fellow author, Ronie Kendig).
No purchase necessary to win. All you have to do is see one of my posts about Stratagem and share it...twitter or FB. Tag me so I know to enter your name. You can enter once a day. The winner will be drawn on November 1st, the day Stratagem releases. Enter daily...and don't forget to tag me!
This month's recommended reading is from Ronie Kendig:
Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.
The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father's life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram's long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram's secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.
Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them.
Hooah! Tox is on sale!! The Tox Files epic conclusion, THIRST OF STEEL (ebook), is only $1.99 right now.. "Kendig keeps the tensions high and the pace lightning fast, with military action scenes worthy of Vince Flynn." ~Publishers Weekly
Still available for FREE!
Until next time...
Found on Amazon, by Molly: It's been some time since I read a Caroll novel. I wasn't sure what I would think of this one, diving into it after so long away from her work. However, once I sat down, opened the book, and dived in, I was very surprised! I was instantly captivated and taken to the heart of New Orleans, and was taken on a whirl wind roller coaster ride of ups, downs, twists and turns during this suspenseful, read! That's trademark Caroll fashion, if you ask me.
The Darkwater Inn has characters that are chiseled just right for their roles. The emotions they felt, I could feel as my own. The plot line that they are in, is intense and had me on the edge of my seat on more than one occasion. I was turning each page, needing to know what was happening next. When I found out? Oh, you'll just need to grab this book up and see for yourself what I read, what I felt, and what the characters went through in the French Quarter.
Mrs. Caroll has created another book that is worthy of 4 stars and high recommendations. If you want an edge of your seat, suspenseful novel full of twists and turns, then grab this one up now. I can't wait to see what she has in store for her fans in book 2! Well done, Mrs. Caroll. Well done.
It’s the same for me every single time I turn in a manuscript. I hover at my computer, checking email every 3 minutes for a note from my editor. Doesn’t matter if it’s an editor I’ve worked with several times or a new one. Doesn’t matter if it’s a publishing house I’ve partnered for several books with or if it’s my first with them. I’m literally waiting with baited breath for editorial feedback.
And when it finally comes, I have the same sensations as I always do: excitement to see how the first person besides me feels after interacting with my characters; dread to maybe confirmation I’m a hack; and energized to make my book the best it can be.
Even after close to 30 books, I still manage to go through the same emotions…and then the same steps to deal with all of them. *Vent
When I get my edited manuscript back, I scan through it and read all the comments quickly. Then I let myself vent. Usually to my husband.
“What does she mean this phrasing is awkward?” and “The pacing isn’t off in this scene!” and “How can she not see the hero’s motivation? It’s so obvious!” are all things I have vented. Just a few of the many. And my husband, being the good man that he is, nods his head, hugs me, then takes me out to dinner. Which also helps move into the next step… *Take a Day Away From the Manuscript
Since the family and I go out to eat, it’s easy enough not to go right back to the file when I get back. I force myself to ignore the manuscript (and revision notes) for 24 hours to let my subconscious work through what I read.
When I return the next day, the comments make a lot more sense than they did the previous day. For some reason, the first read of edits usually feel like personal attacks. After that, they feel more like good insight and suggestions. *Remember We’re Partners to Make the Book the Best Possible
When it’s time to start revising, it helps me to remember that my editor and I are working together to put out the best version of my story as there can be. If I’m unsure of her comments, I ask. I’d rather be clear on what I need to do. It's my editor's job to tear apart my manuscript like the pickiest critic ever and find every nitpicking detail anyone could even think about causing a pause in the reader’s experience. It’s my job to polish until it shines. How to do that? Here are my tips: 1-Start Simple
Complete the easy stuff first. Word choices. Active vs passive. The little things the editor pointed out that I can fix in less than a minute. Once I get those done, I always feel so productive. 2-Fix Character Issues
Yes, my precious “babies” have issues I need to fix. After the simple stuff, I work on the character issues the editor has pointed out. I created these people, so I should be able to step into their skin and smooth out roughness that the editor pointed out. Which finally leads to… 3-Fix Plot Issues
Once the easy stuff is completed and then the characters are shining, I move on to the last stage: plot issues the editor has found. Sometimes that means stripping apart my timeline and rebuilding. Sometimes I need to weave in more, or sometimes cut. A lot.
When revisions are all said and done, I usually take a day to let the story “rest.” The next day, I read it through, making any final changes before saving and sending. But once it’s done and gone, I move on. Because, after all, I’ll be getting line edits soon!
I’ve learned that the harder I work on a book, the more satisfying to hold the final product in my hands. Every time I work with an editor, I learn and grow as a writer. Hopefully, my craft improves from each editor's insights. And it’s time to start on the next book, as deadlines loom!