Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Holiday Magic 'warms hearts' for Christmas

The holiday season is upon us and what better time to read a holiday romance. "This Holiday Magic" is out and available from Kimani Arabesque.

Celeste Norfleet, Janice Sims and I have a collection of heart-warming short stories that I hope you'll enjoy.

USA Today said this about the anthology: " Family (blood related and otherwise) and friends influence the courtships with wonderful support, honest counsel and helpful machinations to bring these sweet romances to fruition."

The collection deemed earned a four-star rating from RT Book Reviews and this comment about my novella, "A Family for Christmas": "Finding new love and uniting two families is showcased well. ... Mason's tale, in particular, features quite a bit of depth for such a short story."

"A Family for Christmas" features two single parents.

Upscale retailer Renee Armstrong moved to the suburbs to give her daughter a fresh start. She never expected to cross paths with someone like Trey Calloway, the sexy single dad living next door. With the Yuletide in full swing, will they discover the exquisite gift of a new beginning…together?
You can purchase "This Holiday Magic" from the Kimani website as an ebook or paperback or get it via your favorite book seller.

Friday, November 28, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

I've been MIA from the blog primarily because my focus this month ... and the month leading into it ... was National Novel Writing Month.

This year, I was determined to win the 30-day challenge to write a 50,000-word novel. My win/loss record was 3-3 leading into NaNo 2014 and I wanted to put a notch in the win column. It's Day 28 of NaNo, and I'm coasting toward that win.

How? Why?

This year, I discovered voice recognition on my phone! It's been there all the time, it just never occurred to me to write with it. I talk the story into the phone on the commute to and from work (20 minutes each way) and can get anywhere from 800-1,000 words done each way. This has been a game changer for me!

Granted, the writing is rough -- even rougher than a normal typed or longhand first draft because enunciation is not always on point and sometimes the app hears words that I'm not saying. Then there's the bit about punctuation. You have to tell the app to make a period, or a comma or a question mark or a new paragraph. So the first edit of what I've drafted via voice recognition will need to be cleaning up the punctuation and making real sentences out of sentences that go on for 200 words! But, guess what? I'll have a first draft. And that's what NaNoWriMo is all about!

So, wish me luck as I finish up the 50,000 words, because after that, I need to actually finish the novel. My guess is that it will take about another 50K to get to the end of the actual first draft. 50K in a month is remarkable, but it doesn't make a completed manuscript.

What's your experience with NaNoWriMo?

I participate in my region's activities and host a community write-in every year. Here's an article from the Daily Press about wrimos in Hampton Roads, Va. And yes, that's me in the video (before the hair changed again!) and garbed in my writer gear.

RIP to P.D. James, a wonderful writer

Author Photo via Random House
I can’t recall when I started reading P.D. James’ novels. But I loved her stories with Commander Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard as well as the PBS adaptations of them. It was via her novels that I eventually came across Martha Grimes and her Scotland Yard Inspector Richard Jury.

What made her such a great writer to read? This quote from her sums it up:
“When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, I immediately wondered: Did he fall — or was he pushed?”

Here’s the New York Times story about her death which was announced Thanksgiving Day.

Among her advice to budding mystery novels: center your mystery, follow the "fair play" rule and study reality. Here's an article with ll of P.D. James' advice on writing mystery novels.