Tag Archives: #amwriting

A Mother’s Instinct

I would die for my children to keep them safe, and I think most mothers feel the same way I do.  So when I was working on my current draft of Never Show Your Hand, I wanted to bring this protective mothering instinct to my character, Shanaya Cadotte.

Shanaya has returned to the Red Cliff Reservation to assist her Uncle Jeb with an accounting issue at the casino.  A forensic accountant who had worked for the CIA, Shanaya decided she wanted to raise her daughter near her family, so she relocated from Washington D.C. back to the Bayfield area.

But when she starts to investigate, the threats against her begin and her first priority is keeping her daughter safe.  That’s all I’ll tell you about the plot, so I don’t spoil anything.  Chapter Eleven of the story is complete and the first draft is nearing 16,000 words.

Question for my readers:  How would you keep your child from harm if you were threatened?  Would you send them out of town?  Or, would you keep them at your side?

Update on My Works in Progress

This summer has been super busy for me, and I haven’t made as much progress as I’d planned and hoped on my current WIP’s–Never Show Your Hand (Clare Thibodeaux Series, Book 3) and Not Mama’s Little Girl, Anymore!

I have completed a short story for the upcoming three-volume One Million Project short story anthology for charity.  I will continue to update you about when the books will be released.  It is scheduled in the November to December 2017 time frame right now.  They will be published by Dark Ink Press and will be available on Amazon.com.

Never Show Your Hand is approximately 11,000 words and I am working on Chapter Eight of the book.  It has been more of a challenge for me because I am writing it from more perspectives than just Clare Thibodeaux’s.  I wanted to offer an inside look at what the other main characters (Wyatt, Lee, and Shanaya) are feeling.

Writing from Clare’s point of view is fairly easy because I’ve been in her head for the past two years.  Although I’ve been aware of the motivations of the other characters, it is a challenge to jump into their characters and bring their inner dialogues to the forefront.  I think it’s turning out to be an exciting story with intrigue, hidden agendas, romance and those darn plot twists I love so much.

Not Mama’s Little Girl, Anymore! is a story about Natalie Parker.  She’s a Southern girl with a bit of sass that she uses to hide a hearty dose of personal insecurity.  Natalie has been featured in several of my short stories.  Another writer suggested she might make for a good full-length book, so I’ve been working on her story as well.

I am weaving her short stories into a larger story in the ChickLit genre.  I am 10,000 words into the book at this time.  I will include a preview of the first chapter under the “Kate’s Books” tab.   Bite-Sized Stories V. 2 is published on Amazon and includes the Natalie short story, “Mucking Around”.  The new OMP anthology I mentioned earlier will include another Natalie short story entitled “Not Mama’s Little Girl”.

Thanks for reading!  I’ll get busy writing!!

Rising with the Sun

I’m a morning person.  I wasn’t when I was in my 20’s, but I guess over time I’ve learned to appreciate the slow rhythm of early morning.  The windows in our bedroom face the river bluffs to the east, and as the sun begins to ascend morning light spills in.  I don’t set an alarm clock, but utilize Mother Nature and her lovely solar alert to rouse me.

I throw on my workout clothes and prepare to hit the trail.  The little village where I live sits along the Mississippi River and walking along its banks is invigorating in warm weather.  In winter, the winds coming across its icy surface are soul-chilling, so I enjoy my mild weather treks while I can.

I wave at neighbors and stop to chat on occasion, but my mind is focused on two goals–the miles I will cover and the creative process.  img_1961My best ideas have come to me on my walks.  It’s a solitary time for me and the voices in my head offering various possible plot points, dialogue, a twist or two and an idea for another potential book.

As soon as I get back to my home, I grab my story ideas notebook and jot my thoughts down before they are forever lost in the creative ether.  Physically spent at this point, it’s time for the nectar of the gods… Coffee!  This is typically followed by multiple glasses of good old H2O and a healthy smoothie.

My writing day begins after showering and getting into my writing uniform–cut-off jeans and a t-shirt.  I head outside with my laptop and notebook if the weather is nice or into the library to write, update social media and call my mom.  Writing outside is wonderful.  My old job required me to be inside 12 hours each day I worked.  In winter, I would leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark.  Bleek days, those were.

And, who isn’t inspired to write when they are surrounded by their favorite books?  Not me, for sure!  In the winter, it’s IMG_2555perfect to sit with my feet propped up on the ottoman and a cup of aromatic ginger tea next to me.

I try to write 1,500 to 2,000 words each day.  It’s a goal, but when the creative flow is there–it’s magical.  For me, it is essential like oxygen and nourishment.  The section of my brain firing off the impulses which become stories is another muscle requiring exercise each day.  If neglected, it will become lazy and out of shape like other areas (I will refrain from mentioning).

Some days are easier than others to stick to a routine.  I’m like everyone else.  I slack off more often than I should, but aren’t writers supposed to be whimsical?  During those days some of the best ideas come to the surface.  We have to entertain our whimsy or it will die and writing will become a chore, instead of a joy.

My inner whimsy is calling me to come out and play.  Gotta go…

 

A Community of Writers

Today, I’m saddened. After being a part of the Write On by Kindle community since 2015, Kindle announced it is closing the forum. Many say it was time, but I wanted to express how important a role it played for me.

I loved to write when I was younger.  As I entered adulthood, I had other responsibilities which took precedence over my writing.  Decades later (four to be exact) I received an email from Amazon Kindle about a new website they were developing.  I went online to check it out and began to read some of the posted stories.  Reading the stories and comments left by other writers and readers inspired me, I knew I needed to take a chance.

I began to write Exodus.  It took ten months to write, proofread, revise and edit.  In August of 2016, I self-published my first novel on Kindle.   During the months I wrote I also messaged back and forth with various authors helping them proofread and suggest possible edits of their works in progress just as they had helped me.  Without their support, I wouldn’t have gone through the steps it took to finish the book.

Encouragement between writers played an important role in the forum.  I learned to take constructive criticism with more grace than I would have before I was a participant in the forum.  While writing and rewriting paragraphs and chapters, I discovered I was my greatest critic.   Through this journey on Write On, I have become a better writer.

It saddens me to know this forum will not be available for others in the future.  Yes, there are other forums, but Write On was special.  The bonds we’ve formed with our fellow indie authors will hopefully last.  The books we have written are proudly published on Amazon so others can enjoy them.

I may never be a best-selling author, but it’s nice knowing my book has entertained those who have read it and hopefully will for years to come.

Building Suspense

I love a good mystery or thriller.  Throw in the FBI, CIA and a few Navy Seals and I’m a happy camper.  The genre of my current series is Romantic Suspense, and one of the challenges of this genre is building suspense and keeping the story moving without giving too much away.

The allure of the mystery/suspense story is trying to solve the puzzle before the characters in the story.  When I was young, I was always trying to out-sleuth Trixie Belden or Hercule Poirot. A writer’s task involves dropping some hints and using dialogue and plot points to advance the story.  Just when the reader is positive they know who the villain is — insert a plot twist.

“What is it?”

“It’s a tracker.  Someone placed it on your vehicle, so they could follow your movements…” ~ Dave Cartwright to Clare in Exodus

Don’t you love the feeling you get when you’re at a critical juncture in a scene?  The suspense has been building and building.  I know something major is about to happen.  My heart starts to beat a little faster, and my eyes fly over the words reading rapidly.  I am anticipating what the next scene will reveal.  Boom!   Your theories just got blown out of the water.  One of the best compliments I have received from readers is “I thought I had it figured out, but you had me second-guessing myself through the whole book”.

Secrets can be revealed along the way to advance the plot and to throw some red herrings into the mix.  But the final solution or climax should remain a mystery until the last couple of chapters; otherwise, you lose your readers once they solved it.

Here’s a caveat — some thrillers and mysteries use the antagonist’s point of view to unveil their plot.  These stories build suspense through the unpredictability of the villain’s next actions.   The key is to have certain elements of the story remain in the dark.

I like to give my characters some flaws.  Is the “good guy” telling the truth or acting out of character?  The writer instills doubt with an unexpected action or a sudden change in temperament, for example.

A good story brings the reader along for the ride. A book is an alternate universe and the reader is wanting to immerse themselves in it.  Whether it’s falling in love with the handsome detective or holding their breath during a chase scene, the reader needs to feel the tenderness and the heartache along with the fear and confusion.  If the writer can involve the reader and get an emotional response from them, you’ve done your job.

Falling Behind

Just as the temperatures fall from the humid 90’s of August to the pleasant 70’s of September, and Autumn heralds its imminent arrival with the subtle changes in the color of the trees around us, I feel the panic of Falling Behind.  

I’m an erratic list maker.  I have lists on my iPhone, in the notebook I use for jotting notes for my writing inspirations and in my journal I have fondly dubbed “My Brain”.  It holds the items my aging synapses are unable to retain in any order.  In my fifth decade, I blame it on all of the names, phone numbers, account numbers and birthdates I have tried to compile in the (let’s face it!) minute amount of gray matter I was born with.

I have a special To Do List which I made three years ago.  I cataloged all of the updates I wanted to make to our home.  I went around room by room listing all of the changes and maintenance items I needed to tackle.  I have crossed off about two things on the list.

Oh, I have my reasons.  Summer overwhelms with family events, camping trips, and outdoor concerts.  Last summer, I had a broken wrist and for much of the summer, I wore a cast.  After it had come off, my dominant right hand and arm were weakened to the point I couldn’t accomplish many of the items on my list.

This year, in addition to the multitude of summer affairs we attend, our youngest son got married on an island in the Carribean.  Yup, I didn’t get very much done.  Now, I am looking at a list older than the two year old, furbaby next to me.  Thinking to myself, ‘If it wasn’t raining, I could’ve painted outside today…’

How many of you have To Do Lists with still too many “To Do’s” on it?

 

 

 

The Tale of Writing Withdrawal

I am going to tell you a tale of woe and angst.  Once upon a time, a writer found herself separated from her story unable to write for ONE WEEK!!!  I can imagine your alarm at this calamity.  But it’s true.  I have gone for over a week without writing a single word in my latest project Winter’s Icy Caress, the sequel to Exodus.

I published Exodus on Kindle and on Smashwords.  Done.  Nope, it isn’t.  The second book in the series is stuck on Chapter 16 unless I can find some time to write.  So, I guess you want to knWinter's Icy Caressow what has kept me from my writing passion.

Simply put – Life.  Appointments both personal and medical, family visits, a music event with friends and family and projects (other than writing about Clare, Wyatt, and Lee) have separated me from my typical routine.  I usually write between 1000 -2000 words each day.  They may not always make the final cut for a story but the words are put on the page either way.  I’m 14,000 words behind.

What might have occurred in Bayfield while I was busy?  Don’t worry I won’t write any spoilers.  I think I may need to end my blog and my misery and get busy.  While you are waiting for Book 2, mosey over to Amazon Kindle or Smashwords and check out my author pages.

Kate McGinn’s Author Page

Kate McGinn Smashwords Profile