Friday, January 31, 2014

Stranded on the Informaton Highway

Back in the 19th century, it took eight days to travel by the Butterfield Overland Stage at 4.5 mph from San Francisco to Tucson, Arizona. Fascinating! The real "fun" of the trip came from sharing your coach with up to eight other passengers, knees interlaced, facing each other for lack of space. Couple this reality with traveling 24 hours a day, every day of the trip with only brief stops to change horses and get a drink of water or a bite of food.  Also, consider the reality of your stage traveling though a remote landscape inhabited by hostile natives and dangerous highwaymen (and at least one woman stage robber I read about).

Yes, I'm stuck researching facts about the old West, while writing The Storm Women. The good news being, I'm dogged about finding out what I need to know to make the story come alive. The bad news obviously comes down to enjoying the research so much it slows down the writing process. I offer you no cure for this phenomenon, but if you're a writer, you'll want to consider getting over, around or through this road block when creating your next novel. Please let me know if you've discovered a clever way to avoid this little writing-process mud bog.

That said, I've got to take a few words to say how much Internet research means to writers of the "great American novel." It's like finding gold under the walkway from your front door to the driveway. No more driving to the library and digging though piles of books, while making notes on little blue-lined white cards. No more shuffling through those unorganized slips of paper to find the exact quote you remembered writing down, but can't seem to sort out from all the rest. In my opinion, the Internet is better than chocolate pudding for breakfast!

Today's wisdom: Internet investigation feels like free-styling on the "information sidewalk" and grabbing some air over the road blocks.

Write On!

Monday, January 20, 2014

An Ending with a Twist

Saturday turned out to be an especially productive day for The Storm Women. When I wrote Honor Bound back in the 1990s, I had in mind the story I wanted to write and a hazy idea of some specific scenes I intended to include. Writing proved to be a struggle while working full-time and going home in the evenings to three teenaged children. However, I did have the support of two good friends at work, who were enormously helpful as I put the book together.

When I began Arrrowstar, I had no idea where the story might lead, and I discovered it took on a life of its own as I wrote. Often I wrote passages that sounded great, but took off in directions I hadn't thought I would find myself going! Then it came time to write Charade, and I understood how much an outline would greatly streamline the work. However, I got about half way though the outlining process when I just couldn't seem to go any further. So, I began to write. When I arrived at the last item in the outline, the going got really tough.

Now I'm pleased and excited to tell you, I finished an outline of 25 chapters for The Storm Women on Saturday. I'm thrilled I was able to put together an outline for the entire book, and an added bonus came when I thought up an ending with a twist!

I had thought these companion novels would be novellas, but this outline makes The Storm Women look like a full-length novel. I'm so glad to have all of you along for the creative process. Blogging seems to help me keep my priorities clear cut and my intentions in perspective.

Today's nugget: Inspiration seems to dawn when I least expect it.

Write On!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ready, Set, Write!

If you've read Arrowstar, you should get an email from Amazon with instructions about how to update your copy of the e-book. I've made some changes and added some important items such as the copyright notice and dedication in the front matter of the book. The table of contents is now at the beginning of the book where it belongs. 

If you bought Arrowstar very early on, you'll see new cover art as well as the other changes. Several readers felt the flow of events were sometimes hard to follow, especially in the early chapters. I've added dates and chapter headings in response to this helpful feedback. Keep it coming! Let me know what you think when you get a chance.

Now that the second edition of Arrowstar and the first edition of Charade appear to be in good order in the Kindle books section of, I'm feeling settled enough to begin writing The Storm Women. I'll be the ghost writer for Star Lance as she gives voices to the women of Mineral City's Storm family, who, until I dig them up, reside in the cemetery up on the hill, behind the church at the end of Main Street.

What if we find out these pioneer women kept secrets even darker and more sinister than those revealed in Charade? What if a murderer lies buried among them? What if the murder victim rests nearby her killer? What if the murder remains unsolved among the cold cases on Rafferty's desk? What if, what if, what if . . . I like to ask those kinds of questions to awaken the muse and set the story in motion.

I've decided this companion book to Charade might do well as a novella (15,000 to 30,000 words in length). However, intentions often change when the characters begin to come alive and start insisting on their own way. I hope you decide to come along for the ride and check on progress as I dig up dirt and sift through years of living, lies, loves, and lore.

Are the Storm women as pure as the driven snow or black-hearted and sinister? Are some of them saints while others are sinners? As you can see, I'm already kicking around the tone of the book and musing about the design of their lives.  I'm thrilled when I hear from readers, so let me know how you feel about the Storm women. I always listen to the "what ifs!"

*Monday's wisdom: "Persistence and determination are omnipotent . . ."

*President Calvin Coolidge

Thank you for standing by. . .

Write On!