Thursday, August 29, 2019

Where Lost Things Go....

I watched "Mary Poppins Returns" last night and the song that touched me was "The Place Where Lost Things Go"... it had me in tears.  I think Emily Blunt wrote it and it is simple and touching.  I thought I would share ...  for all of us who have lost or miss placed things or people. 

Till, Judi

The Place Where Lost Things Go
Do you ever lie
Awake at night?
Just between the dark
And the morning light
Searching for the things
You used to know
Looking for the place
Where the lost things go
Do you ever dream
Or reminisce?
Wondering where to find
What you truly miss
Well maybe all those things
That you love so
Are waiting in the place
Where the lost things go
Memories you've shed
Gone for good you feared
They're all around you still
Though they've disappeared
Nothing's really left
Or lost without a trace
Nothing's gone forever
Only out of place
So maybe now the dish
And my best spoon
Are playing hide and seek
Just behind the moon
Waiting there until
It's time to show
Spring is like that now
Far beneath the snow
Hiding in the place
Where the lost things go
Time to close your eyes
So sleep

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Journey... Life and Writing

Don't you wonder sometimes... where am I going?  What brought me to this point?  Who was responsible for where I am today and even who am I today?  So many variables, so many choices... so many people.  It's really like chapters of a book, but in life the characters bleed through to other chapters in your story.

It seems that this time of year always brings up good and bad memories for me of people that I've lost.  First and foremost, my Dad, because this is around the anniversary of his death.  I lost him many years ago, but his influence and love are still all around me.  What a good man he was.   And then there was a "sister" - well actually a real one and two "sisters by choice" as we called each other.  I lost them all to cancer.  My real sister started me on this writing journey by encouraging me to write a children's book (Fiona the Lighthouse Firefly) that she had always talked about.  Writing it became my grieving process.  After it was published, I established a scholarship fund in her name where all the proceeds from those two Fiona books go.  My other "sisters" had been in my life forever.  I laughed and cried with them, shared things that I had never shared with anyone else, accompanied them on the final journey they were taking  And my Mother, bless her.  She who caused me anger, heartbreak, and joy.  After our tumultuous times, we ended as friends, loving and respecting each other.  And then there were the men, of course, who as the Willie Nelson's song says, "came in and out my door."  Listen if you've never heard that song -  Each and every one contributed to who I am - my strength, my resiliency, my ability to cope with loss and to open my heart and love.  Not all of the encounters ended well.  Some of the younger ones ended in disappointment; some were lost to accidental deaths; some were just lost over the years, but each and every one had an impact that "bled" through into the rest of my life.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because when I write, they all come to mind... their quirks, their looks, their ability to love and share, good traits and bad.  As a writer, you pull from your life experiences and the people who participated in them.  As the leader of my writer's group used to say, "you've been hurt, so what, everyone has been.  So you need to pick at that scab and tell us how it felt."  And I can tell you from experience, it's not easy but that's what readers connect with.  I even go back to the loss of my animals and the heartbreak their loss brought.  My first dog, Blackie, appears in many of my stories.  I can still feel the pain of my first encounter with death from him, then my Dad and Mom and all the others who are gone.

So many of you might recognize bits and pieces of yourself in my characters.  Or maybe I've done such a good writing job, that you can't tell if it's you or not.  :-)

Dig deep and enjoy the writing process.  I sure am.  "Dark Secrets has received really good reviews and I'm currently working on two new novels right now!


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pick up a copy and travel to Paris!

Well, you can now pick up a copy of "Dark Secrets" and follow Brielle to Paris.  What she discovers will shock you.  

In my last blog entry, I promised to talk about the editing process with a publisher and so I will...  

I agonize over my characters - are they believable and interesting; the plot - is it enticing, thrilling and surprising; and the setting - is it fascinating and appealing?  At this point, I consider myself  a decent writer; we can always become better writers and editors help us to reach the next plateau.  Most of the time, my characters, plot and settings are good, but the editors find the inconsistencies that we as the writer, skip right over.    

This time, the edits were mostly missing somethings - words or punctuation marks.  How did I miss these things I thought.  I knew before I submitted the manuscript that I had read and reread the story many many times and yet, these edits eluded me. 

So, I started through the manuscript again fixing what had been spotted,  While attempting to read every word, I found  missing quote and periods.

Because my manuscript had French places and terms in it, these words had to be italicized.  So I had questions about which words and places had to be in italics.  

As I continued through the edits, I felt that gremlins were at work, inserting, taking things out, changing words... weird.  But in the end, after reading and rereading the manuscript till I thought my eyes would fall out, it was ready to go.  Whatever errors are now in the book, the "gremlins" did it!!

I'm on to the next Oyster Point Mystery - old loves return.  Will Lizz or Mike break up Jamie and Jack?  Time will tell.

Keep writing,

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Cover appears - Dark Secrets !

I'm really very pleased with the cover for my newest novel, Dark Secrets - it's dark and intriguing like the novel.

The editor has begun working on my novel but I've not received anything back so far.  One comment she has made which I'll pass along to you is that when you use a foreign language, the words must be italicized.  She's doing that as she moves through the manuscript.  She's also checking my French... which I admit could be a bit rusty.

As I wait, I'm working on another "Oyster Point Mystery" with Jack, the Chief of Police, and Jamie, a cyber expert and budding detective, returning to find themselves enmeshed  in a number of cold cases once again.  To complicate their lives, Lizz, Jack's sexy ex-girlfriend, and Matt, Jamie's handsome motorcycle riding ex-boyfriend reappear in their lives.  How will this affect Jack and Jamie's relationship?  Is it strong enough to withstand the feelings of young loves gone bad?  Even I don't know at this point.  Lizz is hotly pursuing Jack and Mike... not sure what he's going to do.  But Jack is beginning to feel a bit of jealousy.  Jamie, confronted by the perfectly made up and adorned Lizz, sexy in everything she wears and does, is feeling threatened.  Will these feelings of jealousy and doubt cloud the love they feel for one another?

In the meantime, Jamie's dreams begin again because of this new cold case she's interested in -- a young girl found buried in a shallow grave.  As hard as it is for her to experience these dreams, they always contain nuggets or facts that  help them find the murderer in the future.

Well, enough of a preview into the next Oyster Point Mystery!  I love working with these two characters because their backgrounds tend to provide very fertile ground for many twists and turns.

Au revoir... keep writing,

Sunday, June 9, 2019

ACCEPTED - Dark Secrets!!!

Well, "Dark Secrets" has been accepted by the publisher!!  I'm so excited. 

The photo on the left is from my apartment in Montmartre. I had to take you back to Paris with this novel.  I loved it there.

"Dark Secrets" will introduce you to the city of Paris through my eyes.  Jacques will steal your heart away and Brielle, well, she'll transform right before your eyes from a woman who's emotions are frozen because of a childhood event to a woman who falls in love with a city she thought she would hate, and yes... Jacques.  Now there's a problem.  Is it Paris or is it him? And can she discover what happened to her mother?  She and Jacques take that dangerous journey together.  What they discover you just won't believe!

So, I'm working with the publisher on the cover.  I think you're going to love it and an editor has been assigned... nothing yet.  My prediction is that the book will be released by mid-July!!! 

I'll let you know... this journey has been so unexpected and so awesome.  Book #3 coming soon.

As I go through the editing, I'll discuss what we find.

Keep writing and don't lose faith... you can never tell when a miracle might happen.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Biting my nails waiting...

Well, submitted my latest manuscript to the publisher and now I wait.  

I read, edited, reread it and was not happy with the ending.  I tinkered with it, but it felt like I was droning on and not adding to the story.  I had already cut out an entire chapter that wasn't moving the story ahead and I added one sentence later that conveyed what I had said in that chapter.  So I went to bed and during the night, my mind solved the ending.  Early the next morning, I rewrote it.  It was much much better.  Off the manuscript went to the publisher.

As usual, I worked hard to make the characters 3-dimensional.  I've talked about this before -- characters need a rich background to make them who they are when readers meet them.  If they aren't interesting, why would the reader care about them?  In this case, Brielle had watched her mother walk away when she was four.  This feeling of abandonment coated everything in her life.  All her choices were safe ones, ones made so she wouldn't be hurt again.  

This quote from the book gives you a peek into what Brielle is feeling...

"Every single thing in her life was in shambles except for her job. Who had she become, letting her selfish hate taint everything.  She had lied to Philip about her mother, had tolerated his condescension because he wasn't a threat to her, to breaking her heart like her mother had.  She had never grown close to anyone because if they walked away or died, it wouldn't hurt like when her mother had abandoned her.  And now her mother was dead, her grandparents and Philip, all gone.  Would she end her life like Jeanne Dubois, a recluse?" 

Well, you'll have to wait till the book is released to find out what happens to her.  :-)

Keep writing and reading.  Work hard on making your characters real, gritty, soft, tender... whatever they have to be to make your readers love them or hate them.  There is no middle of the road.

I'll be back when I hear from the publisher... I hope.  In the meantime, I'm working on the sequel to "She's Not You," a new Oyster Point Mystery!

Till, Judi


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New interview...

A new blog interview with Mark Iles!  His site is called "The Scribe: UK Veterans Writing Group.  Thanks Mark... nice job as usual.

I've been diverted to other stuff lately, but am returning to my editing.  Want to submit my current manuscript in a week or so.

I'll be back.  Keep writing,