Saturday, March 31, 2012

Catching UP!

Books that went to press this week:

HIDDEN GOLD OF MU, by Milton Brown

Galleys that went out this week.


SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

Work began or continued on the following:

Volume 3 in PATRIOT series, by Steven Clark Bradley


Payment will be done for the quarter after April 1, so we are already working on pulling the sales figures together.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blackened Red Fish -- recipe

Tanya Ramagos’s Blackened Red Fish

2 boneless red fish fillets
1 tsp butter
lemon juice
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Seafood seasoning

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the fillets with the Chef Paul's seasoning and lemon juice on both sides, then gently lay in buttered skillet.

Cook, flipping often, until blackened on both sides.

Contributed by Tonya Ramagos, author of Secret Admirer... Someone is sneaking anonymous letters in Alexis Berkley's locker. Could it be the boy of her dreams?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plot-Driven Mystery? -- writing tip

Question: Someone in a class I'm taking said my mystery needs to be more plot-driven. How can I tell if she's right and if she is, how do I fix it?

Answer: Well there are two kinds of mystery. Plot-Driven means it's all about what happens and the investigating character does not change. Most mysteries used to always be this way. Character-driven mystery is about characters that change and grow over the story, or even over the series.

The plot-driven mystery is all about the puzzle. Sherlock Holmes is always his superior, calculating, self. At least he is until he meets "The Woman." And even afterward any emotion or resulting change in his personality is never part of a Sherlock Holmes story. Yes, it is important to have a good puzzle for the reader to solve. And your reader might be telling you that the puzzle might be a tad transparent. If that seems reasonable to you, lay some more false trails, leave some false clues to lead the reader to a false conclusion or two.

Plot-drive mysteries are all about the plot and only about the plot. Think about it. What do we know of Hercule Poirot except that he is Belgian and fond of his "little gray cells?" Miss Marple is elderly, a bit cynical on the subject of human nature, and knits. Their presence as characters is only to facilitate an answer to the puzzle. We rarely know what they're thinking, which way they'd vote in an election, or what issues are important to them. Then there's the hard-boiled Dashell Hammett, Mike Shayne plot-drivers, where the most important thing about the characters is that they act tough, drink a lot, and follow the clues to find a solution. It's been awhile since I read any Lillian Jackson Braun(sp?), but I think maybe her "cat" mysteries fall into the plot-driven category, too. Though she might be vulnerable if she lost her cat.

Even so, in my opinion, the character-driven mystery is the most enjoyable. Readers like to read about characters they care bout. A mystery where the main character's personality, and emotional needs play a role is always preferable to me as a reader. It makes the story richer. I care more about what happens.

I've never read a really bad one. Even in Dick Francis's first, ODDS AGAINST (which had a horrible hole in the plot) the writing was terrific. His main character, Sid Halley, has lost his marriage because his wife didn't approve of his career and his career due to an accident that left him physically handicapped. He's depressed and all but suicidal when his ex-father-in-law asks him to look into a mystery. In all his mysteries the main character is vulnerable and stands to lose a lot.

But you asked about plot driven mysteries, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and some would add TV's Jessica Fletcher to the list, write plot-driven mysteries. Plot drives most of the action in "puzzle" based mysteries. They are almost all about plot and the characters are chess pieces, moved about to accomplish an end. Jessica Fletcher is always Jessica. She never grows, or changes, or stands to lose anything but face, or one of MANY nephews, if she fails to find the killer.

Hope this helps.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vampire Killer Chilli - Recipe

Jonathan Amsbary’s Vampire Killer Chilli

1 - 2 pound coarse ground beef (or turkey if you like)
1 large yellow onion -- chopped.
16 oz Chilli hot bean
16 oz. can crushed tomatos
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. cold water
1 small can Jalepeno peppers (The green ones) or 4 green chillis chopped
2 TBSP red chilli power
1 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP ground cumin
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 TSP paprika
1 TSP mesa or 2 TSP of corn starch if you can't find any mesa.
1/4 tsp. salt

Fry the beef, Onions and Garlic until brown -- drain. In a large pot (I use a crock pot) add everything else. Then add the beef and onions. Bring to a boil and then simmer until enough water evaporates to get the thickness you like. In a crock pot cook on high for one hour and then low for at least three.

Serve hot. Goes great with cold beer and cornbread. Garnish with cheese or sour cream as desired.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Catching UP!

Books that went to press or back to press this week:

A FRIGHT OF GHOSTS, by Helen Chappell

E-Book editions completed this week:


A FRIGHT OF GHOSTS, by Helen Chappell

DRAGON SPEAKER, by Raye Morand

Galleys that went out, or went out again this week:

LAST STOP, FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz

Work continued or began on the following:



SNIPER by Warren Graffeo

Still waiting for galley review results for the following authors:

Hugh Carter Vinson

Victor Uribe

Write Words, Inc. / Best Sellers for NOOK in February
Sales figures are only for OUR company, not for overall Nook site sales.

Elizabeth Eagan-Cox is the best selling Nookauthor that month, with a combination of sales for her four book "Lindsay Delaney Series.

A MEDIC IN IRAQ, by Cole Bolchoz was second.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Oysterback Recipe From Helen Chappell

Oysterback Jell-O Mold-off’s Prizewinning Watergate Salad

1 (3 3/4 oz.) box Pistachio flavor instant pudding (prepare according to the directions on box)
1 2 oz. can pineapple
1 9 oz. container Cool Whip
½ cup pistachio nuts
½ to 1 cup miniature marshmallows

Combine instant pudding with Cool Whip and stir until creamy. Add other ingredients, place in mold, and refrigerate over night.

Contributed by Helen Chappell, author of the Oysterback Tales I and II, as well as the “Sam and Hollis” mystery series, and her newest title LOOKING FOR MIDNIGHT, the tale of a well-known madam who plans to write a tell-all book.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My readers keep getting lost! -- Writing tip

Question: I had my book published and have had a couple of reviews that say it isn't "well-grounded in time and space," but a good story nonetheless. My best friend said she was on my side, and she loved my book and my story, but she DID keep getting lost. LOST? Any ideas?

Answer: As a publisher, when I tell someone a book is not "well enough grounded," it's usually because the transitions are poorly done. I can't say if that's the problem with your book, but you might want to check all the opening sentences of scenes and make sure the scene is grounded and that the Who? When? and Where? questions are answered as soon as the scene begins. That's my best guess, Fran. It may be wrong, however. I can only say what I usually see in my submissions files.

A lot of this is plain common sense. I can't tell you how many manuscripts I see where scenes open with conversation between two people, but we don't know who or where they are. Many don't even have names, just "He" or "She." Nothing irritates a reader more than not knowing where they are or who they are witih.

Worse, many times a third person will say something, then following the speech, will be the words, "Kevin Shaunessy joined them on the post office steps." It's plain disorienting for Kevin to speak, before he joins them. Sort of like someone sneaking up behind you and poking you in the back when you're not looking. And it's even worse if the first two people have been talking for half a page before we find out they're at the post office. Especially if we've already built them a street corner, or a grocery store parking lot in our imagination.

Reading is a participatory sport. It's a partnership between you, the writer, and the reader's imagination. If you give the imagination the cues, all well and good. If you don't, it will go to work all by itself and knowing that the two people must be SOMEwhere, will create somewhere for them to be.

In a movie, it's all there for them to see. When a new scene begins, you have an "establishing shot of the post office and the two people coming out the door. Then the camera moves in and they begin to talk to one another. When Kevin comes over, we can see him in his postal employee uniform with his mailbag over his shoulder, so we're not too surprised when he joins in their conversation uninvited.

But in fiction the reader takes what you show them with your words, and builds the set inside his or her mind. Therefore, it's the writer's responsibility to let the reader know Kevin Shaunessy is there, and the readers' responsibility to "create" Kevin in his or her imagination, from whatever cues the writer gives them. That's why it's so important to describe a character when he or she first appears. From the name, the reader will usually infer a bluff, perhaps red-headed Irishman and would be startled later to learn that Kevin was a swarthy-complected Episcopal priest.

Readers want surprises, twists and turns, the unexpected. But they also want to be cued so that when something unexpected happens, they say, "I should have known!" Not "What the hell?"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peas, Potatoes, and Macaroni -- recipe

Marie Prato’s Peas, Potatoes and Macaroni

1 medium size onion
1 or 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 medium or three small potatoes, cut into cubes
1 sm. box frozen peas
1 sm. can tomato sauce
2 quarts of water
1 sm. box shell macaroni

Cut up a medium size onion and saute it in a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot. Cut two medium potatoes into small cubes and add to the oil. When slightly golden add in a package of frozen peas. Put in two quarts of water and a small can of tomato sauce. When the water boils, add a box of shell macaroni. Season to taste. Makes a thick broth soup and a complete meal in one pot for four people.

Contributed by Marie Prato, author of DEADLY BREW, THE STATUE WALKED, and TEN TERRIFYING TALES

Monday, March 19, 2012

Congratulations to EPIC Award Winners!

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2012 eBook Awards.


Dame Topaz Treasures Carrie S. Masek (sole author)
Whiskey Creek Press


What Kind of Turtle Am I? Donna M. Zappala Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.


Love, Sam Linda Rettstatt Champagne Books


No One Lives Twice Julie Moffett Carina Press


The First Real Thing Cat Grant Ellora's Cave Publishing


The Sevenfold Spell Tia Nevitt Carina Press


Tree Soldier Janet Oakley Createspace


Pillar's Fall Ben Larken LL-Publications


The Dead Detective Agency Peg Herring LL-Publications


Healey's Cave Aaron Paul Lazar Twilight Times Books


Becoming NADIA Cyrus Keith Muse It Up Publishing

Science Fiction

The Immortality Virus Christine Amsden Twilight Times Books


A Mother's Eyes Karen S. Woods Sleeping Beagle Books


The Indestructible Relationship Kimberly Pryor Self-published


Hearts in Darkness Laura Kaye The Wild Rose Press

Contemporary Romance

River Time Rae Renzi Carina Press

Fantasy Romance

Bound: A Faery Story
Sophie Oak Siren Publishing, Inc.

Historical Romance

Passage to November Phyllis DeMarco The Wild Rose Press

Horror Romance

Endless Lust Lexxie Couper Ellora's Cave Publishing

Paranormal Romance

Blacque/Bleu Belinda McBride Loose Id, LLC

Romantic Suspense

Absolution Kaylea Cross
The Wild Rose Press

Science Fiction Romance

Steam and Sorcery Cindy Spencer Pape
Carina Press

Spiritual/Metaphysical Romance

Lingering Spirit Marilyn Meredith
Oak Tree Press

Short Story

Chamber Music Peter A. Balaskas
Uncial Press

Young Adult

Nightmare Interrupted Linda Palmer
Sugar and Spice Press

Friday, March 16, 2012

Catching UP!

Books that went to press, or back to press for print this week:


A FRIGHT OF GHOSTS by Helen Chappell

CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field

ALL ABOUT ME...ROOTIE'S HOUSE, by Elaine Simmons

A HOUSE TO KILL FOR, by Judith Reveal

Books that went to press or back to press for E-books this week:

A FRIGHT OF GHOSTS, by Helen Chappell

Galleys that went out this week:

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo

Work continued, was revisited, or began on the following:


LAST STOP FREEDOM, by Ann Nolder Heinz

Galleys still out with authors, no corrections or approval received to go to press:

A GRANDFATHER'S GIFT, by Hugh Carter Vinson


Best Sellers at Fictionwise

Best Sellers for
Based on data gathered within the last 20 days. Icon explanations
1. Long [52663 words]StarWolf by Warren Graffeo [Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller]
2. Mid-Length [45109 words]A Medic in Iraq: A Novel of the Iraq War by Cole Bolchoz [Mainstream]
3. Short [5291 words]Final Exit [Jack and Jill Mystery #1] by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime]
4. Short [6152 words]Dick Spindler's Family Christmas by Bret Harte [Classic Literature]
5. Long [58541 words]A Bird by Any Other Name [Alex Masters Series Book 3] by Brenda Boldin [Mystery/Crime]
6. Long [58820 words]Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
7. Long [103273 words]Great Sea Stories by John L. French [Classic Literature/Historical Fiction]
8. Long [76479 words]Traveler by David Yates [Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller]
9. Long [75516 words]League of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy [Historical Fiction/Romance]
10. Short [8262 words]Red Ink is No Picnic by Arline Chase [Mystery/Crime/Romance]

Highest Reader-Rated at Fictionwise

Highest Rated for
Based on highest average ratings by at least 5 readers. Icon explanations
1. Long [66889 words]A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Classic Literature/Children's Fiction]
2. Long [121796 words]Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen [Classic Literature]
3. Long [61049 words]Minder's Oath [High Places Series: Book 2] by Nina M. Osier [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
4. Long [113180 words]Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini [Suspense/Thriller/Classic Literature]
5. Long [98906 words]Ghost Dancer by Arline Chase [Historical Fiction]
6. Long [57142 words]The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie [Mystery/Crime/Classic Literature]
7. Long [75310 words]The Secret Adversary [Tommy and Tuppence Book 1] by Agatha Christie [Classic Literature]
8. Long [68911 words]Dark Elf: [Book 2 of the Red Knight Chronicles] by Ray Morand [Science Fiction/Mainstream]
9. Long [70408 words]Slow Dancing with the Angel of Death [Hollis Ball and Sam Westcott Series Book 1] by Helen Chappel [Mystery/Crime/Humor]
10. Long [76981 words]Tortured Souls [Arbiter Series Book 2] by Matthew L. Schoonover [Horror]

Thursday, March 15, 2012

People don't like my character -- writing tip

Question from the e-mail: The guys in my writers' group all claim they don't like my main character and ask why would they buy the book? "Who wants to spend time with someone like that?" they ask. Okay, my main character is NOT a Mr. Nice Guy. He does some questionable things. But how does that make it a bad book? I wrote it to explore his warped psyche, not so people would love him!

Answer: Again, as in the last question you sent me (about motivation), the problem is probably in the reason he does the "questionable things" he does. The main character is called the PROtagonist, because the reader will (or should) identify with him and root for him. Or her.

I haven't read your book, so I can't comment directly. There are always exceptions, of course, but the main character in most books must be someone the reader can like. One they can feel they understand and might have done the same, if circumstances demanded it. At the very least, they must understand WHY the character acts as he does and sympathize with his need to do it and understand his motivation.

But he can do whatever you want him to do, if you give him a good enough reason (Motivation) to do it.

As an example, let's look at best-selling author Jeff Lindsay's popular character, Dexter Morgan:

Dexter is a serial killer. He has a whole box full of blood slides collected from people has murdered, gruesomely! Getting people to LIKE him as a character must have been a challenge. I know folks who won't even consider looking at the TV show because, "It's about that mass-murderer guy." Well....

But look at what we know about Dexter's character aside from his murderous tendencies. From his actions, this is what readers (and now thanks to SHO, TV viewers) can see about Dexter.

1. He's not a random killer. He never kills anyone NICE. Most of his victims are other serial killers. Well he did make a mistake once, but that guy was a child pornographer....

2. Though he believes himself to be a sociopath and to love no one, he obviously loved his adoptive father and loves his sister. In fact, he loved his father so much, that despite his murderous tendencies, he promised to follow "Harry's Code" and to kill only lawbreakers that the law couldn't touch due to technicalities. Though Harry is long dead, Dexter still keeps his he's loyal and a man of his word.

3. He had a horrible experience as a child, saw his mother murdered, and THAT's what caused him to have these irresistible urges to kill. So there's an understandable reason for what he does.

4. Though reluctant, Dexter married his girlfriend. When pressed he tries to do the "right" thing.

5. He loves his son, and his step-children and is a patient, loving and caring parent to them all.

6. He is efficient at his job as a blood-spatter analyst.

Finally, most of us have felt the urge to kill at least once. We can identify with the urge and that lets us forgive Dexter's inability to resist it. We accept him as a protagonist, despite his tendency for producing corpses at inconvenient moments.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Russion Tea - Recipe

Mary Cox-Bilz’s Russian Tea

2 1 qt. (large jars) containers Instant Iced Tea, sweetened and with lemon (any brand)
1 1 qt. Jar Tang
3 tbsp. Cinnamon

Since I am a quadriplegic, for this tea, I get someone whose fingers work to mix all ingredients well and store in an air tight container. I use one I can flip open with my mouth stick, but any cannister, or even a large Ziploc bag works well. Mix two teaspoons with half a glass of water. Add ice, and enjoy a refreshing treat any time you like. You can also use it as an instant hot tea. Or we sometimes make it by the pitcher using 3/4 to 1 cup of mixture to a 2 quart container.

Contributed by Mary Cox-Bilz, author of HOW TO PROMOTE, MARKET, AND ADVERTIZE YOUR BOOK.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What is a "stringer?" writing tip

Question: Someone at my local paper asked if I wanted to work as a "stringer." What is that? I know they have cut down on their staff and just fired two reporters. Do I really want to work for them? And doing what?

Answer: If they have let their regular reporters go, they will need stringers more than ever. A stringer covers local events, usually time-consuming local events, for a flat fee instead of an hourly wage.

It looks as if they are trying to save money (and benefits) by using stringers to cover local stuff that the regular staff used to do. Newspapers are all suffering economically. Paper costs are sky-high and, in an effort to promote a greener America, a law was passed that so much of a newspapers paper must be recycled. Recycled newsprint is far higher than the new stuff, so that makes printing copies even MORE expensive.

They are always looking for "stringers" to cover time-consuming local assignments. These often pay little in terms of $ per hour, but can be very rewarding in terms of experience and fun. Say the local historical society is taking their replica 17th century sailing vessel on a day-long cruise. They want a reporter to come, but the editor knows it will take all day (and cost many hours of salary), and he'll only get one story for his bucks.

A stringer can go and spend six or eight hours sailing up the bay for a flat fee, usually a low flat fee. If the stringer can take or "come by" some photos of the vessel as well, the editor will have a nice looking feature at a reasonable price, the historical society will be proud and gratified, and the stringer will work long for little, but have a nice byline on the Sunday B1.

Also the stringer will get to spend the day on a 17th century sailing vessel, will meet contacts and may find ideas for other articles. A stringer I know, got $25 for her feature on the sailing ship, met a professional photographer who was looking for publicity and who had some lovely slides of local skipjacks as well as the 17th century ship when it was under construction.

Later she earned many times her original fee for a feature on the ship's builder, Jim Richardson, from a boating magazine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Catching UP!

Books that have gone to press or back to press this week:

HIDDEN GOLD OF MU, by Milton Brown

PORTALS, by Eleanor Cross

Galleys went out or went out again this week on the following:


Work continued or began on the following books this week:

CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo


Coffee-Time sales site has a big advertising push coming up, promising to promote sales for authors there, so some of you may be receiving e-mail asking you to purchase advertising or promotion packages there. Paid advertising is rarely a good investment at individual sites. Authors are much more likely to find customers through Internet Radio. For the record, we have sold ONE book at Coffee-time in the past 12 months.

Best Selling Kindle Books at Write Words, Inc. for January 2012

1. The GHOST series, by Elizabeth Eagan-Cox Remains on top with all four titles selling well at Kindle for January.

2. BLEEDING HEARTS, by Josh Aterovis


4. MIRRORED WORLD, by Meghan Roos

5. FELLING OF THE SONS: A Bonanza Novel, by Monette Bebow-Reinhard

Please bear in mind this is only for our company, and only for one month, so it does not mean huge profits, only that you are doing well among your peers group.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Short Story Tips -- Thoughtful advice

Question from the e-mail: You give lots of tips about writing long fiction, but do you have some for those of us who still like to write short stories?

Answer: I used to have a list of tips for students, when I taught short story writing. Haven't done any for years, though. See below:

Twelve Tips for Wriitng Short Stories

1. A short story should be short. The longer your story is the more difficult it will be to sell.

2. A short story should be fast-paced and never boring. A short story needs to move quickly and take place in a short length of time.

3. A short story should be written in scenes and all scenes, if at all possible, should be from a single character’s viewpoint.

4. A story plot should contain an Objective (the main character’s goal), Obstacles that stand in the main character’s way, and a clearly defined Outcome, that results from the characters actions (not from coincidence!).

5. A short story is about a main character who wants something and whether they get it or not. If there’s no problem, there’s no story. Some central problem should face the central character and how the main character solves that problem is what the story is about.

6. A short story should have a theme, some grain of universal truth that becomes the central theme of the short story.

7. The Protagonist (main character) should be someone whose motives the reader will understand, whose mistakes the reader will forgive, and whom the reader will identify with and root for.

8. Action and dialogue should rise as the story progresses. Scenes should build upon one another to increase the reader’s involvement. Action should be believable. Dialogue should stay on the point.

9. A short story should have a bleak moment, just before the crisis, when it looks as if the main character will never get what he or she wants.

10. The crisis should be realistic and the reader should be experiencing both tension and suspense as to the outcome.

11. The resolution should explain everything, and tie up all the loose ends. It should be satisfying to the reader, even if it is not a “happy ending.”

12. Dialogue in a short story should always move forward and be about the point of the scene. Small talk has no place in dialogue.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Banana Bread -- recipe

Carlene Dater’s Banana Bread

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs (or half a cup of egg substitute)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together, butter, sugar, bananas, and eggs until well mixed. Stir in 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp. Soda and ¼ cup chopped walnuts. Placed in greased loaf pans or bundt cake pan.

Bake in a 350-f or 177-C degree oven until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about one hour.

Contributed by Carlene Dater, author of AN EXTRA PAIR OF EYES. The stories in this book will introduce you to a side of police work you’ve never seen, and a group of heroes you’ve never met. EYES puts the reader in the front seat of a police unit, lets us experience some of the drama, the danger and the joy of volunteers helping law enforcement in all kinds of situations.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Common Writing Mistakes

Question from the e-mail: What is the most common mistake you find in submitted manuscripts?

Answer: There is NO writing mistake that I haven't made myself, so I do know them all. When you are concentrating on what to say the grammar rules are not necessarily in the forefront of your consciousness.

Having said that, the most common error we find in submitted work is capitalization errors, followed closely by apostrophes used incorrectly.

I find capitalizations mistakes in almost ever file I see. It's easy to use search and replace to fix them, but we will have to read a little around what is found to determine whether actual errors in capitalization problems exist:

For instance Mom or Dad gets a cap when used as a name, but NOT when used as a pronoun.

“How you feeling, Mom?” gets a cap as Mom is the name and it's used as a proper noun.

“My mom feels bad.” gets no cap, as the “my” before mom makes her one among other moms and so she’s a pronoun. Mom, or Dad or Aunt and Uncle only get caps if they are used as a name or are part of a name.

The same cap rule applies with military rank, or learned titles, etc. If you use military ranks, or titles like Sergeant, Professor or Doctor, while you are working on the book, they get caps if they are a name, but not if they are a pronoun.

“I was late, because Doctor Malkus gave me a prescription.”

“I was late, because the doctor gave me a prescription.” (A pronoun because “the doctor” is not part of his name.)

“The captain of the Revenge led his crew of pirates in an attack.”

“The crew of the Revenge was led by Captain Edward Teach.”

"I was late to Professor Hargreave's class."

The professor was very angry with me.

It can be a good idea to search these kinds of things AFTER a ms. is completed, just to double check, because again, when we wear the creative hat, the rulebook may go out the window.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Potato Puff -- recipe

Nancy Madison's Potato Puff

8 ounce package of cream cheese
4 cups of mashed potatoes (about 3 large bake potatoes)
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup drained, chopped pimiento
1 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper

Soften the cream cheese, blend with mashed potatoes. Add the beaten egg, finely chopped onion, drained, chopped pimiento, salt and dash of pepper..Bake in buttered 1 quart casserole 350-F or 177-C for 45 minutes. Serve at once.Serves 4.

Contributed by Nancy Madison, author of Whispers. In the wee hours of her wedding day, whispering wakes New York heiress Layne Hamilton. Investigating, Layne finds herself in the darkened hall outside her guest room. Through a closed door, she hears her fiance and maid-of-honor planning her death

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Books Released March 1

New e-books Released in March:

by Robert Kanehl

It started as a practical joke, but Hannah turned it into the adventure of a life time. Who drew the portrait of the founder of the first law school in America is a question that has haunted historians for 200 years. With the help of a spirit Hannah discovers the truth and even more about herself! While working on a school project, Hannah is lead to the answer by the ghost of Anna a spirit trapped in this world. As a reward, Hannah must try to bring Anna some final rest. Can she do it?

by C.M. Albrecht

When Corky Middleton thinks she may have found her birth mother, she hires a Foster & Hall to investigate. Wow, does she open a can of worms! Instead of finding Corky's mother, the shamuses trip over a corpse, and that's just the humble beginning of an escalating case that climbs to the top of society in this twisted tale. Can Foster & Hall Investigations go back eighteen years to unravel this tangled web of deception and bring a murderer to justice?

by Meghan Roos

Living in a small California town in the mid-1960s, Rebecca Gallagher and Riley Parker are two young playmates, neighbors, and best friends when they first see a mysterious light glowing from a dark grove within their neighborhood. More than a decade later, nearly every other factor in their lives has changed, and it seems the only things that have remained true are their unfaltering trust in each other and the existence of that same hidden light. Now, as one of the nation’s biggest political scandals of the century rushes into front-page newspaper articles and onto television screens across the globe, Rebecca and Riley encounter an unusual man who carries the keys to the past – and to their world’s future. In this whirlwind adventure encompassing two best friends’ race to the truth, Rebecca and Riley discover the shocking power time holds through its influence on history – and how one mistake can threaten to send the lives of an entire civilization into chaos.

By Helen Chappell

Sculptor Jane Constant is artist-in-residence at Green Gardens, an ancient seaside mansion turned artist’s colony. This summer’s crop of eccentrics and other creative types include the handsome actor Gabriel Hardy rehearsing for Hamlet, the stoner musician Dink Sheldrake with an opera to write, the alcoholic abstract impressionist Ted Mitran and Midnight Bunting, a retired madam who wants to spend her summer writing a tell all memoir about her rich and famous clients. Then there’s politically ambitious next door neighbor Barbara Barkley, who wants Green Gardens closed down as a disgrace to the upscale seaside community and a Chief of Police who’s interested in more than Jane’s art. When Midnight Bunting is found dead in Gabriel Hardy’s bed, suspicion falls on everyone, and things look desperate for the continued existence of the beloved old artist’s colony. . .

by Bruce Castle

A couple is brutally murdered in Pittsburgh. Months later, several murders strike Baltimore County. Undoubtedly, these seemingly unrelated killings would have become a cold case if Detective Sergeant Aubrey McKensie of the Maryland State Police had not been assigned the case as she solves unsolvable crimes, not only by her intuitive talents, but by a paranormal ability that has been invaluable in her police work, but a disaster to her social life. Susan Gardner is a clinical psychologist and Sherman Langston is a businessman with political aspirations of becoming president. Both have lovely families and are respected in their fields.

They have not seen each other since graduating high school and neither would have any reason to be suspicious of a stranger entering their lives through murder and deception. During Aubrey’s investigation, fate links her up with Detective Joshua Greenberg from Pittsburgh whom she is highly attracted to. A heartfelt romance develops while these two masterful detectives pursue an oddly behaving killer with a secret past and an equally secretive future. Then, an unexpected turn of events occurs; a grotesque and murderous scheme is launched that Aubrey and Josh are desperate to end without further innocent lives being destroyed.

New Print books with Advance copies out in March:

by Helen Chappell

Holis Ball and Sam Wescott Series, Vol. 4

Watch out for trouble on Maryland’s Eastern Shore when Hollis Ball and her ghostly ex, Sam Wescott are on the case! Hollis’ waterman brother Robbie, desperate to support his growing family through a hard winter, has headed down the Bay to isolated Shellpile Island, where he hopes to make money oystering with island local, Sluggo Fotney, a slick operator with a slippery moral sensibility.

When Sluggo is found dead, Robbie, the outsider, is charged with the crime.

But when Hollis and Sam head to Shellpile to investigate, they find plenty of local suspects to chose from, including Sluggo’s fellow watermen and his three ex-wives.

And behind the Shellpile Islanders’ wall of stony silence, there are bigger secrets than who murdered Sluggo Fotney. Secrets that could land Hollis into deep, dark waters, even with the help of a special guest ghost, a long dead pirate who knows all the island’s secrets.

by Roberta Goodman

Set against the backdrop of a historic snowstorm, Snow Escape is the story of one woman’s innocent foray into the world of online dating turned deadly.

Allegra Maxwell is a 30-year old, single school teacher looking for love. Having chosen to use the Internet to meet the opposite sex, she encounters an articulate, prospective beau on the night the biggest blizzard in history is blanketing the Big Apple. Their pleasant conversation soon turns sinister when she discovers that "Charles" has been stalking her for weeks and claims he lives in her building. With threats of destroying her little by little are made, Allegra must stay one step ahead of the mind games. Turning to neighbors for help, tragic consequences ensue.

When her sanity is questioned, because the online evidence her stalker exists disappears, Allegra must prove he does exist and she isn’t losing her mind. When a power outage thrusts her into darkness, will she be able to overcome the helplessness she feels? Placed in a situation that’s spiraling totally out of her control, while trapped in her apartment building with no escape, will she survive until the authorities can reach her?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Catching UP!

The following books went to press, or back to press, this week:

A HOUSE TO KILL FOR, by Judy Reveal

Print Galleys went out to authors, or went out again, this week:

HIDDEN GOLD OF MU, by Milton Brown
CLASS REUNION, by Michael E. Field

Work began or continued on the following print books this week:

SNIPER ON THE ROOF, by Warren Graffeo
PORTALS, by Eleanor Cross

Authors who have not looked at final galleys before going to print, and are thiiiis close but won't send an okay!!


Best NOOK sellers for Write Words in February!

1. All four of Elizabeth Eagan-Cox's Ghost books did well, with
GHOST AT STALLION'S GATE, selling the most.

2. MYSTIC FIRE, by Monette Bebow-Reinhard

3. A MEDIC IN IRAQ, by Cole Bolchoz

4. FELLING OF THE SONS, by Monette Bebow-Reinhard

5. A FRIGHT OF GHOSTS, by Helen Chappell

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Am I too nice to my characters? -- writing tip

Question: My writers' group keeps saying I'm "too nice to my characters." What are they talking about? I like my characters and want other people to like them, too. So what's wrong if, on her way to being arrested for a murder she didn't commit, my character goes shopping and buys a dynamite dress? Why shouldn't nice things happen to characters in a story, too? Why shouldn't she be wearing a great dress when the cop who will later be the love interest slaps the handcuffs on her?

Answer: Nice things don't happen to people in stories, because nice things make for boring stories. Stories are about people who meet a challenge, people who strive toward something, people who are in danger of losing whatever they want most. If there's no suspense about the outcome, there's no story.

Instead of what she wears to be arrested in, you might want to concentrate more on what she's thinking and feeling at that moment. Did she know the deceased? Hate him? Wish he was dead, but someone else got to him first? Is she worried about why the cops will think she did it?

That can be hard to do, especially if you like your characters. You want them to be happy. Because of their active imaginations, most writers have lived a rich fantasy life. But fantasies are about happy events. Stories are about bad things happening to good people.

My good friend, Carla Neggers, says that you create a character, then you put them in a big hole and throw dirt in on them. Every time they try to climb out of the hole (solve one problem), you throw more dirt (give them another challenge to meet), until the arrival of what Carla calls the "big gloom" when it appears to your reader that there is no happy solution available to your character at all.

It's a hard fact, but true, that "What's bad for the protagonist is good for the story."

This is hard for all writers. We create our characters and in many ways they are a part of us. It's hard to throw dirt. We want to make everything all right for them. I had a student once who wrote a western story where the heroine was tied to the railroad tracks -- a suspenseful, if trite plot turn. The hero was riding to the rescue. The train was coming. The heroine was screaming. And the train ran out of coal and lost it's head of steam. Then the hero came and untied her. When I asked my student why she had the train run out of coal, she said, "Well, I didn't want it to run over her, in case he didn't get there in time."

But it is the possibility that he won't get there in time that keeps the reader on the edge-of-the-chair and involved in what's happening in your story.

After that, comes the resolution. Either the character will succeed, or not. Either way, the situation is resolved and the story is over.