Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Survival Mode March 2020...

Well, our world sure has changed quickly, hasn't it?  No school, distance learning, colleges closed, restaurants closed, stores closed... on and on. 

Believe it or not I had to travel this weekend and chose to drive, not fly... a long trip.   The first thing we noticed was that traffic was light -- until we reached the dreaded Georgia/South Carolina border where we lost a lane.  Traffic continued heavy - stop and go for miles.  I have no idea why a highway that transports so many people from the North to the South and back again is a two lane highway!  Well, a topic for another blog.

As we crawled along, I noticed that the majority of cars and mobile homes were from Canada - Quebec and Ontario.  They must have listened to the Prime Minister's speech days earlier urging Canadians to come home.  

There are many times when I'm on the road that i'm irritated at the trailer trucks clogging up the lanes.  But listen to me now, NEVER again.  These gals and guys are the backbone of our country keeping our economy rolling.  As I drove along, I felt like buying each and every one of them a coffee and a meal if there were any restaurants open.  Thank you road warriors!!

When we stopped for gas, we noticed all the restaurants that we trusted to have clean restrooms were "drive-up" only which meant everyone traveling had to stop at rest areas or the gas station markets.  Even pumping gas, we wore gloves and disposed of them before reentering the car and then sanitized our hands.  

I had packed lots of snacks, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and hard boiled eggs so we were never hungry and never stopped, except for my Dunkin' coffee -- even the virus couldn't keep me from my coffee. :-)  

Then we had to stop for the night.  We picked a decent hotel and when checking in, I asked for a room that hadn't been booked for a few days knowing the virus supposedly didn't live on anything past 72 hours.  She didn't really have that information so gave us a top floor room all the way at the end of the corridor.  

Once in the room, out came my Clorox spray bottle and I cleaned every surface that we would touch.  A friend had advised this and I'm so glad she did.  Maybe it was a false sense of hope that I had destroyed the virus that had lived in that room but I felt better and that's all that counted I guess.  She also suggested that  I take my own sheet to throw over the bed, which I did, but then added my own pillow cases as well.  We slept on top of the bed with towels over us.  I know, it sounds absurd now that I write about it, but it felt necessary at the time.  Is it over the top panic?  Most likely but who's going to be the one to take that chance... not me.

We needed to eat and Outback took takeout orders over the phone and delivered. We had a great picnic. 

The next day at breakfast, I conducted an unscientific study about why more men come down with the virus than women.  Before I selected tongs, I picked up a napkin and then used them.  The same was true when I used the coffee pump and creamer, but I watched the men just handle everything, no napkin, bare handed.  When we sat down, my husband said, "You just saw why the study was right.  Men touch everything without a thought." 

We powered on for the rest of the day stopping to switch drivers, to use the restrooms and to pick up a Dunkin'.  The rest areas became less populated as we moved up the east coast.  Truckers had special areas reserved for them at the back.  

When we returned home, I immediately threw everything into the washing machine, left our jackets in the garage where they still sit, and showered.  

As I said in the beginning, our world sure has changed quickly.  I'm glad to be home writing again.  There are many stories in that trip back for me and the days leading up to the trip.  I just thought I had to tell this one.  I'm sure that each of you have stories that need to be written so that we chronicle these times.  When we emerge from these days and we will, we can look back and make a judgment as to whether we were smart, took unnecessary risks, or overdid everything.

Stay safe and be well,

Monday, February 24, 2020

Up for "Reader's Choice Award!

2020 Reader’s Choice Awards contest -

I'm very excited because my mystery book, "She's Not You", was just nominated for the 2020 Readers Choice Awards contest by TCK Publishing! Please vote for it under the "Mystery" category, Page 10, at https://www.tckpublishing.com/2020-readers-choice-voting-page/

This is the same book that came in as a quarter finalist in the Screencraft Cinamatic Book Contest determined by a panel selected to read and judge the books.

This new contest is determined by the number of votes the book gets.-- not exactly the same but it would be nice if you all went out there and voted like crazy.  If you haven't read "She's Not You" - you should.  The reviews have been awesome.

That's my latest news.  Will be back soon.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A February Note....

When I saw this photo, I thought, "What a great opening sentence for a novel."  Immediately, where does your mind go... right, who has that other 1 % ?   Mystery... intrigue, secrets right off the bat.

This is one of the reasons that I write mysteries - I plant those first seeds of intrigue and water them as I go.    Sometimes I encourage a secret weed or two of to grow until they begin to get wild and interfere with the growth of my mystery.  Then they have to be pulled out and composted... :-)  But they have still added to the story in many ways - wrong turn, wrong person, another dangerous person. 

The draft of my new "Oyster Point Mystery" has my signature opening... the commitment of the dastardly deed in graphic detail.  You, the reader, are there, see it, feel it and more importantly see who did it.  Why do I do that?  Good question... maybe because I want the reader to know more than the characters;  maybe because then the reader can see the right or wrong track that the characters are taking; and maybe because the reader still doesn't know how to catch the deed doer.  That's my job as a writer to figure out.  For some reason, this has become my style - most call it unorthodox, but it works for me and has become my signature opening.  

That style doesn't work for everyone, so each of you has to find your own signature or voice - maybe your story starts with "It was a dark and stormy night...."  I was advised a few times by other writers and professors not to have the dastardly deed open the story and I tried moving it.  When I did it, I felt that I had lost the powerful opening that I love.  So back it went.

My time-travel and romance novels usually don't open this way.  But, that said, the other draft manuscript that I'm working on does have a mysterious opening.  Now that I think of it, it's both a mystery and a time-travel.  Is there such a genre?  :-)  

So my advice to all is to write your style, find your voice, mix genres if it works for you and have fun.  Give your reader something that they love and and can't put down.  Make them want more!!

Happy Valentine's Day if that's your thing... just enjoy the day with whoever or whatever is the love of your life.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Dawning of a new year... what will it hold?

Happy 2020 everyone! It's always a time of both sadness and happiness for me when ringing in a new year.  Sadness when I leave behind a year which may have been the best of my life or the worst.  I remember years ago when my Dad died, I didn't want the year to change.  I know, it sounds strange.  You would think that I would have been glad to leave all that sadness behind me, but I wasn't... I didn't want to have to say "He died a year ago" or "He died last year."  It seemed to place his death, my loss, far behind me and I wasn't yet ready to do that.   

But this year I'm looking forward to writing more.  I have two manuscripts that I'm working on and love both of them.  One will be another Oyster Point mystery with Jack and Jamie becoming tangled in more cold cases and surprisingly, with old loves.   We can only imagine how Jamie feels when Lizz reappears - divorced.  And Jack, how jealous will he become when Mike resurfaces from Jamie's past?  Think back on all the loves of your life and just imagine how you would feel if one of them popped up unexpectedly.  It's interesting to see how people deal with that... myself, the past is the past.  As I've said so often, there are no second chances... If you lose one, another will hopefully come along and another and finally, you'll find that very special one or not.  That's just how life is as the song says, filled with "traces of love."

No one walks through this life unhurt, at least no one that I've met.  And so when the Times Square ball drops and we start with a clean slate, we toast the new year hoping for the best... lots of love, happiness and good health with family, friends, and loves of our life.  But we never forget the ones we leave behind last year or the year before or tens of years before.  They are always lodged in a little place in out hearts.  And when they choose to pop up in our consciousness for some reason, they are greeted with tears or smiles... but they are always, always remembered.  

And so it is with my characters.  When their past crosses their path unexpectedly, what will they do?  Give in to trying to recreate what they once had or have the strength to admit that the past should sometimes stay in the past.  How lucky am I as a writer that I can test out both premises... fall back or move on.   

My second manuscript is another time travel; "The Looking Glass Labyrinth" being the first that I wrote.  I'm introducing two new interesting characters with their own life's baggage.  So far I like both of them... Elle, a semi-forensic scientist, who's trying to clean out a family home and sell it after her parent's divorced, and Gabriel, an architect  hired to restore a nearby Victorian, who is looking to buy a house in the historic town.  They are an interesting mix.  Elle's long kept secret might take her to 1845 to unravel the mystery of a missing woman who had lived in her house.  

Wish me luck with both of them.  I'm hoping to have one ready for submission to my publisher by April.  We shall see.

Again, happy new year and follow your dreams.  I am!


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Make new holiday memories and follow your heart into 2020!

Tis the season!  I know I've been missing for a few weeks, but life is busy these days.  I'm working on another "Oyster Point Mystery" where Jack and Jamie attempt to solve one more cold case. In addition, Jamie and Jack find themselves confronted with their ghosts from the past - Lizz and Mike.  Will either of them find that the old love still burns...?

I'm also working on another time-travel.  "The Looking Glass Labyrinth" was so well received, to my surprise, that I'm writing this other tale concerning a locket.  I love writing these - many twists and turns.  But when you write a 1845 story, there's a lot of research that has to be done.  I haven't decided on the title yet either.

I'm also going to investigate turning my Christmas story, Broken Christmas Promise, into a screenplay.  I purchased the tool that everyone uses and after the holidays, will take the tutorial and see how that works.  I was told that your screenplay has to be in a certain format... we'll see how I do :-)

Speaking of holidays, please enjoy them with family and/or friends.  It truly is a wonderful time of year.  I find a bit of sadness creeping in sometimes as I remember the Christmases past and the people who are no longer with us.  The memories are wonderful and I'm trying to make new ones that everyone will carry forth like I did.

May the New Year find you ensconced in writing a new novel, memoir, or screenplay!  Let's just make sure it happens.

Till 2020!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

"Broken Christmas Promise" released; "She's Not You" free on Cyber Monday!!

Just wanted you to know that "Broken Christmas Promise" has been released!  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0826VPM11/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Broken+Christmas+Promise&qid=1575226458&s=digital-text&sr=1

"Star-crossed lovers, Jenna Kastle and Brett Wolfhead, meet by chance during the Christmas season.  He broke her heart and then disappeared.  Now he sits in front of her.
She froze at the all too familiar sound of his voice.  His dark eyes fasten on hers. Her heart hammers.  How does she handle this – ignore him and let him think that he had never hurt her or confront him and demand an answer?
She chooses to confront him never imagining what his answer would be.”
Pick up your copy!  

Also on Cyber Monday, "She's Not You" - the first in the Oyster Point Mystery Series is on a Free Book Promotion - Monday, December 2, 2019, 12:00 AM PST Monday, December 2, 2019, 11:59 PM PST DON'T MISS YOU one this one.  Pick up a copy for yourself or a gift for someone else!!


I'll be back with some other news soon!
Till, Judi

@SolsticePublishing #Mystery #Romance #CapeCod #Wellfleet #Mysterywriters #writerscommunity 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

One Point of View or more...?

Point of view or POV has always been the most confusing part of telling a story by a new writer.  Learning to stay in one POV is hard... you don't want to think about things like that, you just want to tell the story.  BUT, there are rules governing how to use the three accepted POVs:  first person, second person, and third person.  I'll let you do the research on these three but will say that I had written The Looking Glass Labyrinth in first person initially.  This means that statements are written using "I, me and myself."  It's easier to understand if I give an example... ""I understand."  I change the subject.  "Her name was Rachael?" The intense watchful eye in the portrait are fastened on me as I chat with her great-great-great-granddaughter." Here I'm telling the story in first person.  When I submitted parts of it to my writers' group, our leader, a published writer, suggested that I try rewriting it in third person.  I kind of rebelled inside since I had finished it, but thought I'd rewrite part of it in third person and prove her wrong.

Well, as I rewrote it, I found that it became... stronger?  Maybe even a much fuller story. And my publisher loved it.  And so it never hurts to experiment with the POVs to see which best tells your story.  In my first published novel, She's Not You, I used third person but actually wrote it from a number of POVs.  When I submitted chapters in my Creative Writing class, the professor said it was not the normal way to write a novel BUT, then she said I had done it so well that it didn't bother her.  I actually couldn't imagine telling this story any other way.  And as it turns out, most of my books are now written that way. 

My latest Christmas story to be released on December 2nd, Broken Christmas Promise, elicited the same comments from the editor assigned to me by my publisher.  She was about to tell me to rewrite it as a single POV when I stood my ground and said "This is pretty much my signature now... my voice."  She admitted that it didn't bother her but was still unorthodox. 

Most new writers attempt the multiple POVs but don't keep them separate.  You can't be in one person's head in one sentence and then another's the next sentence.  POVs have to be separated by chapters or divided by a break to show that this new section is a different POV,  Most writers show a break by three asterisks (***).

I find it interesting to write the same event from a number of points of view... when it makes sense.

So choose your POV carefully.  It will make or break your story.

Keeps writing and learning how to be a better and better teller of stories!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!