Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cjpetterson@gmail.com cj

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Lyrical Pens going on Hiatus

 cj Sez: Lyrical Pens is now going on hiatus…Current plan is to be back on-line in early October.

© “Jenny’s Farm Photo” by Jeff D. Johnston   

§§
   Correction: Last week, I said that Hurricane Ida was predicted to arrive “fifteen years to the day of Hurricane Katrina’s deadly landfall. I stand corrected. 

   Excerpted from news media: “Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of the day Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and southern Louisiana, leaving catastrophic devastation. Ida has had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.”

§§

And a few words from my sponsor: 


   THE DAWGSTAR is a suspense/thriller filled with international political gangsterism, nanosatellites (real things), assassins, fears of frankenfood, and more! A Jane Bond-ish read with a touch of romance. 

   The novel is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5

and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now

   DEATH ON THE YAMPA is a contemporary suspense/thriller tale with a touch of romance. A woman and the man she loves are rafting the Yampa River through the delicious scenery of Dinosaur National Monument when they encounter her fugitive brother who's joined a terrorist group.

   This novel is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP

as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa

and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load up the app and search for the author’s name.

§§

   You can ask your local library to order my eBooks for you. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.
THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1

DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8

§§

   That’s it for today’s post.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 

cj 

P.S. TO ORDER any book by any author of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   If you’d like me to personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.
   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Hurricane Ida put a crimp in my timing

cj Sez: I would normally spend Saturday evening keyboarding my Sunday blog, but Hurricane Ida has put a crimp in my timing and deadened my creative thoughts.

   Mobile, Alabama, is not in the exact path of the storm, but we'll get winds and storm surge. Between my cracked internet provider and storm-downed power lines, no computer access is de rigueur in my neighborhood, ergo the need for an early post.

   We spent a big part of the day stowing away and tying down yard/patio items, pumping gas in the cars in crowded gas stations and cans of ethanol-free gasoline for the generator and power saw.

   I have an all-electric house, and I’m not sure my little, portable generator can handle my electric stove together with my freezer/fridge/and all-important A/C, so also on my list of prepping for the storm today is making extra pots of coffee so I can heat up a cup in a pan on the grille.

§§
Writerly/Readerly quote:

§§
cj’s Review:
Revenge is Sweet by author Kaye George



   Tally Holt, a specialty candy/cookie maker, and Yolanda Bella, a handcrafted-basket maker, become friends when they happen to set up storefront shops next to each other. The two crafty women are struggling to make a go of their businesses in touristy Fredericksburg, Texas, when a local lothario is found murdered in the candy maker’s store, stabbed with the basket maker’s scissors. They find themselves in a race to find the real killer before the police gather enough evidence to pin the murder on one or both of them.

Revenge is Sweet is filled to the brim with clever characters, clues, hints, red herrings, tidbits of budding romances, and plot twists and turns that will keep any fan of cozy mysteries happy.

Recommended reading!

(cj’s transparency comment: I won this book in a random drawing contest.)

§§

   Please keep those in the path of Hurricane Ida in your thoughts and prayers. Louisiana had four storm system hits last year, and people are still recovering. If Hurricane Ida’s landfall happens on Sunday as predicted, the devastation arrives fifteen years to the day of Hurricane Katrina’s deadly landfall.
§§
Sponsor words:


THE DAWGSTAR is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5

and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now

DEATH ON THE YAMPA is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP

as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa

and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load up the app and search for the author’s name.
§§

   You can ask your local library to order my eBooks for you. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.

THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1

DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8

§§

   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 

(Corona Raccoon is back.) 

cj

P.S. TO ORDER any book by any author of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   If you’d like me to autograph or personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.

   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

Follow me . . .     
on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Hot Off the Presses . . .

cj Sez: On Saturday evening, Clay Stafford, Founder of the Killer Nashville Writers Conference, announced the conference’s 2021 Silver Falchion Award Winners. 

Congratulations go out to…

Best Cozy Winner: Rose by Any Other Name / Becki Willis
Best Comedy Winner: Con Me Once / J. L. Delozier
Best Attending Author Winner: Love Power / Martha Reed
Best Action Adventure Winner: The Crow’s Nest / Richard Meredith
Best Thriller Winner: The Divine Devils / R. Weir
Best Suspense Winner: Ring of Conspiracy / J. Robert Kinney
Best Supernatural Winner: Borrowed Memories / Christine Mager Wevik
Best Book of the Year Winner: Borrowed Memories / Best Supernatural / Christine Mager Wevik
Short Story Collection / Anthology Winner: Couch Detective Book 2 / James Glass
Best Sci-Fi / Fantasy Winner: Odyssey Tale / Cody Schlegel
Reader’s Choice Award Winner: A Palette for Love and Murder / Saralyn Richard
Best Nonfiction Winner: Words Whispered in Water / Sandy Rosenthal
Best Mystery Winner: Code Gray / Benny Sims
Best Juvenile / Y.A. Winner: Irish Town / Matthew John Meagher
Best Historical Winner: The Lost Wisdom of the Magi / Susie Helme
Best Unpublished First 50 Pages:
      Winner: Crooked / Suspense / Mary Bush
      First Runner-Up Winner: Choosing Guilt / Mystery / Frances Aylor
      Second Runner-Up Winner: The Forget-Me-Knot / Mystery / Richard McGonegal

  (cj note: In case you’re curious: A falchion is a medieval, single-handed, one-edged bladed weapon that originated in Europe. One site described it as reminiscent of a contemporary machete.)

§§

Sisters In Crime also announced a winner!

“Congratulations to D. Ann Williams, winner of the 2021 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award! #SinC created the award in 2014 to honor the memory of pioneering African-American crime fiction author Eleanor Taylor Bland with a $2,000 grant to an emerging writer of color.”

§§

Writerly/Readerly quote:

§§

   cj Sez: This from another author’s recent Facebook thread: Do you remember the first book you read and loved? Okay, so I'm weird; I have two. There were obviously other books that I read in school, but there are two that I remember and loved.

True story: One winter, I'd walk about a half hour through crunchy snow to Detroit’s now-demolished Mark Twain library so I could sit in a corner and read "Last of the Mohicans" when I was about nine or ten. (That was way before it became too dangerous to let your kids play in your own yard.) The adventure stayed with me and inspired my writing, as did a second book.

   About that same time, I was the winner of a school spelling bee where I won a Webster's Dictionary with my named engraved on gold on the cover. I actually did read most of it, because words and their meanings have always fascinated me.

§§

   And now a few words from my sponsor: 

THE DAWGSTAR is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5

and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now

DEATH ON THE YAMPA is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP

as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa

and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load up the app and search for the author’s name.

§§  
  
  You can ask your local library to order my eBooks. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.

THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1

DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8

§§
   

  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. 

cj

P.S. TO ORDER any book by any author of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   If you’d like me to autograph or personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.

   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

  

Sunday, August 15, 2021

My favorite topic: writers and readers

 cj Sez: As I type this blog post . . .

§§
Writerly/Readerly quote:
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to write. A man will turn over half a library to make a book.”Samuel Johnson
§§
If you’re a writer. . . You know how, after filling a three-ring binder with rejections  (as one writer I know did), we writers worry if our writing will ever be “good enough” to get published? 

  Feelings of inadequacy can often overwhelm any feeling of confidence in our competency and send us running for a big spoon, the nearest jar of hot fudge, and a half-gallon ice cream (my preference is chocolate) for comfort. But think about this: Bona fide professionals, those people we consider successful, do not, cannot rest on their laurels. Okay, that’s a cliché, but truly, professionals continually work to improve and perfect their skills.

    Every time Donald Maass, author of WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, leads a workshop on writing, I’d venture to guess he’s included something new since his last workshop. I know he keeps producing how-to books that incorporate new slants on writing (such as this gem:
THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION). He’s a professional who keeps learning.
   Pro golfers take lessons; powerhouse baseball hitters have trainers as do Olympic runners and skaters. The lesson is clear. The way for writers to improve their craft is to seek critiques and editorial expertise and attend workshops and network (on-line now days) and practice; i.e., read, read, read, and write, not just something but some “thing,” regularly. Those tasks never cease.
   
  Granted, conferences and workshops are being cancelled right and left again this year, but some organizers have the time to convert to virtual attendance. No packing suitcases involved. Taking advantage of a virtual gathering means you can get some outstanding interaction and input while sitting in your slippers and pajamas.

  I make an effort to learn something new every day, some tidbit that I can incorporate into a work-in-progress or add to my growing list of how-to hints or incorporate into my daily life. I wish you the same success.

Now, if you’re a reader (and since writers are also readers, this applies to everyone) here are three simple ways to encourage and support authors without spending an extra dime. . .
   Like, comment, and share authors' Facebook posts. Facebook's algorithms show only posts that FB thinks other members would like to see. That means the more likes and comments a post gets, the more people will see it. (Psst: The same process works for Amazon.)
   Take a few moments to give the book you just read a fair review. It can be all of one or two sentences, yet it will be deeply appreciated.
   Go to book signings. in-person or virtual, even if you can’t afford to buy the book at that time. Your attendance is encouraging.
§§

  Just thought I’d throw this toon in, because some schools have restarted with various and sundry new rules and regulations.
§§

And now a few words from my sponsor: 
THE DAWGSTAR is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5
and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now
DEATH ON THE YAMPA is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP
as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa
and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load up the app and search for the author’s name.
§§

   You can ask your local library to order my eBooks for you. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.
                  THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1
           DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8

§§

   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj
 
P.S. TO ORDER any book by any author of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us
   If you’d like me to autograph or personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.
   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too. 
 
Follow me . . .     
on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Readers have different expectations

cj Sez:  My first drafts are crappy and sparse, mainly for two reasons: First, first drafts are supposed to be crappy, and second, before a screenwriter course turned me on to creative writing, I was once a corporate journalist/editor tasked with relating the gist of a story in limited line space.

  When I’m finished with the first draft, and the manuscript has its usual dearth of details, I start work expanding the details: The five senses…hear, see, taste, smell, feel…and the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the plot.

  I incorporate action descriptors, but I consider too many of them stage directions. Some writers may use them much like adverbs to “tell” their readers what to think or as a way to add words to a short manuscript.
 
  Action needs to have purpose. If describing an action doesn't contribute to the reader's knowledge of the character, scene conflict, or mood, then it’s stage direction. I write mostly suspense and thrillers and have a minimalist approach to action—using few words speeds up the pace and heightens the tension. On the other hand, readers of cozy mysteries or more narrative-based novels want, and expect, to know every detail.

  It’s a good way to control the pace of your novel. Even in suspense and thrillers, there are places where the reader needs a respite from the action. These would be the spots where I add more detail or beats. Places where I can reveal more of the characters’ growth, i.e., transformation, as the plot progresses.
 
Hint: Adding detail words slows the pace; being stingy speeds it up.

  When action is needed to set some mood for the scene, then yes, I detail the action. Sometimes I add details to slow the action and increase the tension. If I want a character to give the reader a sense of impending danger and fear, then I add more description to the action. I tend to follow the lead of my favorite authors—Robert Parker, Stephen King, James Lee Burke. Their succinct style of writing is what I like to read, and it is their fans who are my target market.
 
Hint: Write what you like to read and hit your target market.

 When I write, I take my cues from screenwriting, except I’m the actor. Since internal dialogue doesn’t convert easily to the movie screen, I tend to develop most of the characters’ personalities with action. I move through the scene in my mind and react to the events as my characters would, physically and mentally. I can do that because I’ve written their bios. I know their personalities well enough to know what they would do in a given situation. I want my readers to identify the character more by what s/he does and says rather than what I might tell them, also known as “author intrusion.”

   Fiction, non-fiction, whatever the genre, each has a different set of “rules” because the readers have different expectations and wants. The key is to make what you want to write the genre you read and analyze most often. Over time, the structure of the genre will become second nature.

  If you have any questions or more info to add to this post, please leave a comment. A reader but not a writer? Readers, that means you, too. Lyrical Pens would love to hear from you.

§§

Writerly/Readerly quote:
  “All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”  —Philip Pullman

§§

On a personal note:
  My short story "Puppy Love" in the Christmas charity anthology FINALLY HOME is being lived by my daughter-in-law.

  Yesterday, she introduced me to her puppy Ziva, a German Shepherd mix, that had to have one of her front legs amputated two weeks ago (birth defect). Ziva is running and happy and excited and beautiful and loving, and D-I-L (who is a Special Olympics volunteer) hopes her baby can be trained as a therapy dog.

  I sent along copies of my story for D-I-L to read and think you would enjoy all
the stories in the anthology as well. The FINALLY HOME anthology stories have a universal appeal, going far beyond the Christmas theme. 

  FINALLY HOME has eight stories, all about our four-legged friends and the special people who rescue them. From funny to sad to romantic, there’s something to tug at everyone’s heart strings. The publisher donates a portion of the profits to various animal rescue organizations, and the anthology is free on Kindle Unlimited. https://amzn.to/2Y9VPpe

And now a few words from my sponsor: 

THE DAWGSTAR is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now
DEATH ON THE YAMPA is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP
as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa
and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. 

  There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load up the app and search for the author’s name.
§§

  You can ask your local library to order my eBooks for you. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.

THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1
DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8

§§

  That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj

P.S. TO ORDER any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

  If you’d like me to autograph or personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.
  The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

➜ Follow me . . .     
➜ on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
➜ on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6

Sunday, August 1, 2021

No magic formula for writing

cj Sez: The following format for a romance novel is a composite of information I’ve gleaned from various sources over the years. 
I keep the following notes in front of me when I’m writing romantic suspense.

A likable heroine
   This character can’t be weak or dumb and must be actively involved in the plot. There will, and should, be some moments of angst in the story, but they should be fleeting. You want your reader to root for the lady rather than think she deserves what she gets because she’s too dumb to win.

A likable hero
   This guy should be strong (even if only emotionally), irresistible, smart, and actively involved. He does not have to be stereotypically handsome to be appealing. A well-developed personality can carry him into your readers’ hearts.

Emotional tension
   What’s keeping your heroine/hero apart? What threatens her/him? Making these decisions early on helps keep the plot on track.

A believable plot
   A twist on an oldie will work. According to some studies, there are only six (or maybe eight) possible plots in all of literature. Ergo every “new” story might today be called a trope. Example: Cinderella can be construed as a variation of the Biblical story of Esther, who was an orphan being raised by her uncle and who so charmed a king that he crowned her his queen. Julie Roberts was Cinderella in “Pretty Woman” as was Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl.” Star-crossed lovers, ala Romeo and Juliet, abound. 

   It’s your unique “voice” that’s important in relating your take (spin, twist) on the familiar story.
 
A Happily Ever After ending
   A HEA is an absolute necessity for a romance novel. Love stories do not have to end happily, but romance stories, in all its subgenres, must have a happily ever after or at least the promise of one.  

  Three of those points are romance-writing specific, but it’s my belief that at least two of them—emotional tension and believable plot—can be broadly applied to all genres. Even a memoir needs a bit of tension and a plot to make it an appealing read. But you can help me out here. As a reader and a writer, can you think of a genre that wouldn’t use those two points.

  By the way, there is no “magic formula” for writing a novel in any genre, but with a lot of reading, analysis, and/or luck you might find a format to follow, kind of like Anne Lamott’s ABCDE formula for short stories (Action, Background, Conflict, Development, and Ending).  
§§
Writerly/Readerly quote:
“The historian will tell you what happened. The novelist will tell you what it felt like.”    —E. L. Doctorow
§§
And now a few words from my sponsor:

   Hurricane Season is heating up along the Gulf Coast, and that brings to mind HOMETOWN HEROES, the Christmas anthology that gifts a portion of the benefits to the “Cajun Navy.” The Navy is that magnificent group of volunteers who help (on their own nickel) people in hurricane-stricken areas. This anthology may have been released at Christmas, but the stories are enjoyable year-round, and (big plus), it’s on sale.
                                             §§

   THE DAWGSTAR is available as an eBook  https://books2read.com/u/3LRRG5
and as a paperback  Amazon Buy Now

   DEATH ON THE YAMPA is available as an eBook https://books2read.com/u/bxe1AP
as a paperback  Buy Paperback Yampa
and as a #SCREAM, series phone app. There are a lot of authors and their mystery/suspense stories available on #SCREAM. All you do is load the app and search for the author’s name.
§§
   You can ask your local library to order my eBooks for you. You’ll need to give them the ISBN number of the title you want to borrow.
THE DAWGSTAR … ISBN 978-17369146-0-1
DEATH ON THE YAMPA … ISBN 978-1-7369146-1-8
§§
   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same. Stay safe, hear?

cj

P.S. TO ORDER any book of your choice on-line and support an indie bookstore, contact The Haunted Bookshop here: https://www.thehauntedbookshopmobile.com/contact-us

   If you’d like me to autograph or personalize one of my books for you, be sure to tell them, and I’ll run by the shop.

   The Haunted Bookshop has re-opened to limited hours (and they have an awesome bookstore kitty, Mr. Bingley), so if you’re in the Mobile area, you can stop and shop, too.

Follow me . . .     
on Amazon:    Amazon Central Author Page
on Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fcN3h6