Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year

I'm happy to announce our new WOY is Colorado author Pam Nowak, author of two western historical romances, Choices and Chances.

Pam is also the head honcho for this year's Colorado Gold Conference, so she's one busy lady.

What I'm Reading

I just finished Lee Child's Gone Tomorrow and have cracked open a YA novel recommended by writer and blogger friend Kay Theodoratus, Bad Girls don't die by Katie Alender.

What I'm Working On

I printed out the most recent draft of Wishing Caswell Dead after moving that prologue-like first chapter back to the end of the book where it belongs. I renumbered the chapters and did a tiny bit of reformatting first, so I have a reasonably clean draft to work on.

Revising a novel is not an event, it's a process. I've already been through this novel a dozen times, and this will be #6 in my files as a complete new draft. I do some work from the file, reading the mauscript on my screen. Other drafts are worked from the printed copy, which allows me to cut and paste without losing track of where I am. I like the option of spreading pages out on the floor, inserting handwritten pages here and there with added scenes, or writing notes to myself in the margins. Eventually I'll take all those notes and pages back to the computer and make my changes to the saved draft. The next pass is done online, and then I read the whole thing again, this time reading aloud.

This is the first time I've been excited about either of my works in progress for months.

Guest Bloggers

I now have a guest blogger every Thursday. I'm aiming for an eclectic mix of writers with books ranging from cozy mysteries to nonfiction self-help to books for kids and Young Adult readers. I'm happy to host those on a blog book tour if this blog is a good fit for your book's audience. I have plenty of openings starting on October 21st. If you're interested in being a guest here, click on my link to "View my complete profile" and use the email contact listed there. I'll give you more information at that time.

My guest this Thursday is Elizabeth Maxim, author of the soon-to-be available Riding the Waves, a book about the effects of electromagnetic field sensitivity and its effect on our bodies and our lives. If you spend a lot of time in rooms with computers, radios, televisions, etc., you might want to learn more about this topic.

Jury Duty

Did I mention I am now the proud owner of a summons for jury duty? I start calling in on August 17th to see if I need to report on the 18th. I haven't actually had to serve on a case since I lived in Indiana, sometime before 1985. I've had jury duty notices since then, but either the cases were settled out of court or one of the lawyers didn't like my answers to the voir dire and let me go.

I think I would make an excellent juror, but it appears the lawyers often don't feel that way. First, I was a witness in a federal case back in the late 80s and had to testify in both civil and criminal cases. Maybe attorneys think it's better for the accused and for the lawyers if the jurors don't have that much experience with the system.

Second, I write mysteries about murder. Even though I don't write police procedurals, I read a lot of them, and I also read non-fiction resources on topics of interest using such books as Lee Lofland's Police Procedure & Investigation as well as Murder and Mayhem by D. P. Lyle, M.D. I suspect the attorneys assume I have a skewed idea of how things work in real life.

Worst of all, I read the newspaper every morning, focusing on local and area news. Whatever case is being tried, I most likely will have read all about it. It's pretty hard not to have at least a vague feeling about a defendant's guilt or innocence.

So stay tuned. If I get even as far as the questioning process, it will be interesting to hear those questions and see if I'm dismissed from the jury pool.


Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

I'm so excited for your wip. I know it's going to be awesome. I can feel the good reading vibes already.

I'm reading The Field by Lynne McTaggart. Heavy reading. Quantum science metaphysical. For YA I recommend Shiver & Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.

Jury duty? I think we must do something different over here because I've only known one person to do jury duty.

Happy writing, Simon.

Karen Walker said...

I've only been called once, but never sat on a case. Never even got questioned. I think it might be an interesting experience, though. Except if I watch 12 Angry Men. Then, not so much.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - I wish you well with jury duty. I've been called a few times, but never sat on a case. If you get a case, you might have really interesting fodder for another book : ).

I also wish you well with your WIP; it sounds terrific, and I look forward to reading it : ).

GutsyWriter said...

I like your idea of hosting a guest author to blog, once a week. Also, regarding the revisions part, I hired an editor, "The story structure doctor." I cannot wait to meet her on Saturday to go over my manuscript. I've been struggling with my narrative arc and the "message" of my memoir. Too many ideas swarming around my head, and I met this person at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, two years ago. She impressed me during her workshop.

Ann Best said...

You lead such an interesting life and post such interesting and useful information. I think I'm going to start doing what Old Kitty does and print out the posts I want to keep. Printouts are more useful to me sometimes too, like you, when I'm trying to revise a book. Well, this is my first book, but having gotten back my first revisions last week I'm glad you posted how you're working through Wishing Caswell Dead. You articulated even more clearly what I vaguely decided to do. That is, to cut and paste from the copy of the draft that was sent back to me. It's easier to see the total picture from a hard copy than from the computer screen. Same reason why I prefer a printed book in hand, so I can easily turn pages and move back if I want to--and made comments in the margins. But e-books are the wave of the future--both good and not so good, depending on how you look at it.

And good luck with the jury thing. I really want to know how this turns out!!

Talli Roland said...

Jury duty! That sounds interesting! Would make great fodder for a novel. Definitely keep us posted.

Patricia Stoltey said...

It's true, there never seems to be dull moment around my house, although I do try to clear the calendar from time to time and retreat into a little peace and quiet. I thought August was going to be that month, but it hasn't worked out as well as I'd hoped. Can't win 'em all.

Anonymous said...

looking forward to your guests on Thursdays! And good luck on jury duty! I never get selected and would love to be on one!

Anonymous said...

Hope you can get out of jury duty. That's no fun at all and a real time waster. Oh, I posted my review of Desert Hedge Murders at Amazon. Its been up at Barnes and Noble.com for a couple months. Can;t believe I forgot about the Amazon review. Better late than never.

Stephen Tremp

KarenG said...

Love your new format here! btw my husband is now reading The Prairie Grass Murders and LOVING it as much as I did.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I used to host authors every Thursday - and loved how that took pressure off of me to produce a post that day!

Jury duty - ick!

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like you've got a really good handle on Caswell. :)
It will be interesting to see how jury duty progresses.

Eric W. Trant said...

Ah, revision... I can't wait to get to the revision stage on my next novel.

It's like saying I can't wait to get to the harvesting stage of my new corn field.

But first I need a tractor.

And some corn seeds.

And an open field.

- Eric