Monthly Archives: July 2007

Take it like a man

OK, I’m getting the feedback.

I sent out copies of my latest book – The Secret Place – to a number of readers in order to get feedback. That feedback is beginning to come in, together with thoughts and comments from people who weren’t on the list but who have read it anyway.

It’s grit your teeth time. All the advice is to give your manuscript to people who a) read a lot; and b) read in the genre which you’re writing in. That has largely been true of the people to whom I’ve sent the book, but not exclusively. A couple of them don’t read private eye or thriller novels. However, each and every one of them does read extensively, so that’s a bonus.

So my book is the second in the series of thrillers about my PI, Sam Dyke. Most of the beta-readers have read the first book too, which is an advantage. The consensus seems to be that The Secret Place is better than Altered Life, which can only be good. It’s allegedly more pacy and more gripping.

Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect, of course. Criticisms have included, ‘It starts really well but then doesn’t fulfil its promise’; ‘there are inconsistencies in the plot-line’; and ‘It’s obvious you’ve never been to some of the places you write about … ‘.

All of these are true, to a greater or lesser degree. So the fascinating thing is, how do you respond to them? Some people, I know, have the response of, ‘Oh my god, you’re absolutely right, how could I have been so stupid not to have seen that? I should shoot myself right now … ‘ While others shrug their shoulders, say ‘Meh,’ and get on making the corrections.

I’m kind of in the middle. Despite planning to the nth degree, there are still inconsistencies … how could that be? I thought everything through, didn’t I? All the implications of every action of every character. But still character A says this on page 10 and this – completely contradictory thing – on page 20. Doh! This happens when you make things up on the spot. It seems natural and almost ‘inevitable’ at the point at which you write it. But you conveniently forget that you said the opposite thing only 10 pages previously. Because those 10 pages might have been written 5 days apart … so why would you remember something that was created spontaneously, just in order to add ‘depth’ to a given character?

The harder things to cope with are where your readers tell you that the pace slackens, or a scene was unnecessary, or a scene that was actually essential doesn’t appear to have been written … this means more serious re-writing. Not just re-wording, but actually adding scenes and maybe even characters. So more research! More creativity! Just when you thought you’d done the hard stuff, you have to do more of it.

In the end, I guess what you have to do is consider that you’re trying to make the book be the best book it can be. Yes, it’s tedious and hard work to alter and re-write extensive portions of the book. But if you don’t, you’ll always have those voices playing in your head: ‘It could have been fixed. It could have been better.’

And that’s a lot, lot worse, than the trivial pain of rewriting.

Keith Dixon
Altered Life


Filed under Blogroll, Fiction, The Book's Den Newsletter, The Writing Life, Writing


Con el verano también llega el ansiado período vacacional, ese espacio de tiempo siempre breve, aunque tan necesario, que este año me he propuesto organizar con intención de aprovecharlo mejor. A tal fin he cogido una hoja de papel y, a un lado, he anotado las ofertas disponibles: precios, hoteles, mapas, programas, actividades, horarios… ¡Qué ajetreo! De repente me he sentido abrumado por el acúmulo de tantas necesidades innecesarias. Mientras intentaba huir de esta especie de vorágine desatada que amenaza con agotar las ganas de antemano, he ido garabateando, en la otra mitad del papel, un árbol, un río, un pájaro en una nube y, casi sin darme cuenta, he topado con la segunda opción, la que he elegido. Cerca de la orilla, a la sombra de un árbol y con un par de buenos libros que me acompañen; bueno, o tres o cuatro o… No importan los títulos, créanme, tan sólo elegir una buena compañía: ¡Buenas vacaciones, buen verano, buenas lecturas!
Os dejo la página web de mis libros, por si a alguno se le ocurre similar divertimento: si clicáis con el botón derecho sobre la imagen de portada de los libros podréis descargar una muestra de los textos en formato pdf e, incluso imprimirlos, para así leer más cómodos:

Si deseáis el libro completo lo podréis adquirir en esta otra dirección:

Gracias a vosotros/as:

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Filed under Autores, Book, Books & Authors Carnival, Luis Tamargo

Finding My Voice

(Originally posted on my blog)

I got serious about writing eight years ago, before that writing was just a way to stay alive. I wrote in journals for the most part in order to sort my emotions and ideas. There comes a time in every writer’s life when the need to share their work with world is scary. We worry if the readers will accept or not what we have to share with them. For the longest time I thought who cares about the struggles of young mom and wife as she raises her children. The reality was that many women were going through the same things I was. I met them at the store, at the gym, at church and at work. They all have the same goal in mind; to be a good mom and still do their job inside or outside the home.

Finding my voice has been a journey, I don’t quite know what it is I want to concentrate in. I have so many interests that to choose one is kind of confinding. As my life evolves I find myself with a great need to share the different facets of my personal journey. I’m not in one place for a very long time and I learn and grow with each challenge and trial, I guess this is why they call it growing pains. The categories my writing fall under the most are self-help, inspirational and memoir, but I really don’t feel either one of those describes my niche. If could create a whole new genre it would be Self Awareness, the art of being, I think that describes exactly what I try to do with my writing. It is the wonderings of our mind and as we explore our inner self that we become who we are and ultimately what we are meant to be. Nobody can do it or force it on us, this is a journey where we decide we are ready to begin.

So is this new genre something that can be feasible to me as a writer? I would like to think so because it encapsules everything that I’m going through and will carry me well into the future.

Clary Lopez

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A Week In Pink


A long awaited and deserved vacation finally came for this tired but wired writer last week, and part of the joy was not having to drive too far to find a restful paradise. Topsail Island, NC became the hands down choice this year. My daughter, who’s expecting her first child (a girl she’s already named Sydney Grace), and her husband drove from Texas over a two-day period, which must have been grueling, based upon my travel experiences. I find it hard to sit still that long. I guess my daughter did too. Her small, but swollen, pink feet were happy to be walking around again once they hit sand. The swelling went down quickly. My husband and I rented a cozy, waterfront condo (that happened to be painted a soft pink) called Ocean Potion at Topsail Beach. Renting with Ward Realty was an accommodating, pleasant and relaxed experience. It was surprising to find the condo so immaculate after a busy July 4th week. Ocean Potion’s decor was simply delightful and oh so beachy; lighthouses, fish, sailboats, shells. Of course, my husband and I had dibs on the penthouse bedroom on the top floor with the lounging deck embraced by pink exterior walls. After our Texans settled in on their choice of bedroom, the empty bedroom drew a request for occupation from relatives in my son-in-law’s family reunion house a short distance down the road, so his sister, her husband and their pink-cheeked, 4-year-old moved in. The vacation days were filled with beach walks, sand moats & castles, a baby shower with pink bows and pink clothes, riding the waves, smearing sunblock on pink shoulders, shopping, board and card games, abundant laughter, a few tears that turned noses pink, picking up a few pink-tinged shells on the beach, dodging the occasional lightning storm, and dancing with a precious but needy Golden Retriever whose pink tongue licked my face in delight more than necessary.

And so much good food! Chicken and broccoli braid, blackened chicken sliders, fresh fruit salad, grilled mahi mahi, pink shrimp boil. Everyone shared their special dish. Of course, I don’t go anywhere without books; books to read and books to place. My choice to read was “By Way of Water” by Charlotte Gullick. I guess you’d say it’s a reread as this is the fourth time I’ve turned those pages front to back. It’s a novel “about the legacies of love, faith and violence and the private rules we set for ourselves when the world seems irreconcilably misaligned.” Charlotte said it best. I read it over and over again because I love the rhythm in Gullick’s writing. Like listening to my favorite song, I never tire of it. I’m also drawn to 7-year-old Justy’s strength and her penny. “By Way of Water” was published in 2002 without media hype, but somehow I found it, and it’s a gem I cherish. I’ll probably read it again. I also took copies of my own novel, “Save Them All,” to place on the island so visitors to our area will have the opportunity to enjoy a North Carolina story filled with authenticity, purpose, love for our natural resources and to feel the passion and romance that gradually awaken on our down east coast and go wild! “Save Them All” was warmly received by the proprietor of the Topsail Gift Basket who placed my books and a poster on display in her shop. The much anticipated beach week at Topsail is gone, but I must say the Island was in pink condition and definitely had me feeling “in the pink” more than once.

Linda Bergman-Althouse

author of “Save Them All

coming soon(er or later), “The Purple Fence”

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Filed under Articles, Blogroll, Book Club Suggestions, Book Promotion Experiences, Essays, Reading, The Writing Life, Writing

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – What’s in a succesful series

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Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows anticipation is over and the followed success on the series it’s a amazing. As a writer I have always been intrigued about what makes a good series and how to create something unique. J.K. Rowling has done an excellent job at creating something out of this world. I would love for her to write a book about how she managed to create the series and how her ideas were developed to such extent.

In her interview with MSNBC Rowlings explained why she decided to have her first book reading with kids. The book reading is the usual book promotion she does when she releases a new book.

On the other hand I would like to know from readers what makes a good series.

There is a possibility to create a series with any kind of genre as done by Nora Roberts. She has succesfully created various series for romance readers and the romantic suspence In Death Series under the pseudonym of J.D. Robb. In The Official Nora Roberts Companion we get a glimpse of what her books contains in addition to an upclose and personal section and her career.

I hope that J.K Rowlings takes the time to write a book to give her readers a personal glimpse at the creator of this fabulous series. To me it is of upmost importance that succesful authors reach out not only to readers but to other writers as well. Many have done an excellent job, like Stephen King with On Writing, to help others in the beautiful craft of writing.

Clary Lopez

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Famous Finales

Those who follow TV history know that next month marks the 40th anniversary of the “The Judgment,” the famous two-part final episode of The Fugitive (ABC, 1963-1967) in which Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) finally cleared his name after four long years on the run from an unjust murder conviction. The finale originally aired on August 22 and 29, 1967; Part 2 attracted a phenomenal 72 percent share of the total U.S. television audience that night, a figure that has been topped only on two occasions since: the “Who Done It?” episode of Dallas of November 21, 1980, which answered the question “Who Shot J.R.?”, and the final episode of “M*A*S*H”  (the most-watched series episode of all time), which aired on February 28, 1983. 

The Fugitive finale not only remains one of the most highly watched single episodes of a TV series ever, it marked the very first time a television series went out on its own terms with a definitive final episode. 

This week on Talking Television with Dave White, Frankie Montiforte and I will pay tribute to the final episode of The Fugitive, as well as other famous series finales, from the heartwarming final episodes of M*A*S*H and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, to the surprise ending of Newhart, to the controversial endings of St. Elsewhere and The Sopranos, and a whole lot more.

We all have our favorite final episodes. Which series finale was your favorite? Let us know. Join us for our webcast this Tuesday, July 24 beginning at 10:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm PT on Share-a-Vision Radio,  

Ed Robertson

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Filed under Annoucements, Articles, Books & Authors Carnival, Entries by Ed Robertson, Events, Nonficition, Writing

What’s Coming Up

Things have been quiet and I’ve had a chance to catch my breath. No more visitors, just us. Now it’s time to start planning the promotion for the next book in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.
Judgment Fire is due out in August from Mundania Press. Of course, I already have some plans, but I need to get down to business and do things like writing press releases for libraries and bookstores.

Before the release I am doing an author event in Ventura CA again at the Crowne Plaza hotel (right on the beach), July 21, from 10:30 to 3. I love doing events in Ventura since I have kids and grandkids who live in the area. Gives me a great excuse to visit them. But that’s the only book related event for July where I must leave the house.

Don’t think that means I’ll just be sitting around doing nothing. We have Vacation Bible School coming up at church–and I’ll be helping. I’ve helped every year that I’ve lived in Springville. And yes, I think I’m getting a bit old for it, but my daughter is the pastor’s wife and she even talked me into guiding a class around (and making sure they behaved) when I had a broken ankle and was in a wheelchair–so being old isn’t a good enough excuse.

Back to my plans for Judgement Fire. On August 4, I’m on a panel for the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, (they meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Yosemite Falls restaurant on Shaw in Fresno). We’ll be talking about working with small publishers. My official book launch will be August 11 at the Springville Visitor’s Center in the Elster Building on 190 from 9 to 5. On Saturday, August 25th, I’ll be back in Ventura for a Book Festival form 10 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Universalist Church.

For the month of August, I’m doing a virtual Book Tour. I don’t have the exact list of the places I’ll be visiting yet, but it sounds like fun.

The contest entries have been rolling in for the contest to name the victim and/or murderer in my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. Once the winner has been chosen, I need to get busy with the writing. I’m finishing up the one I’m working on now and once it has been edited, I’ll send it off to my publisher.

Until next time, try to stay cool.

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