Category Archives: author

The Whiteboard – Part Two

Welcome to the second installment of my ongoing short story, The Whiteboard. Last time we met Anne, a mousy little office worker who found the whiteboard in her office had been utilized mysteriously after she left the office one night.

You can read part one here

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The Whiteboard (part two) by Kim Smith © 2017

As the day progressed, Anne began to think of responses to the saying that had been written on the board. She wrote one of her own on the way out that evening.

“Today’s experience was one of such horror, it would make a good movie.”

She chuckled as she admired her work before turning out the light, closing the door, and making her way to the elevator. The memory of the day was not as bad as she’d reported, but sometimes things that went on inside her workplace would make a good movie.

~@~

The next day, Anne entered her office in the same way as she usually did, only to find the mystery writer had struck again, regaling her with words of wisdom.

But this time, it was much more … personal. And potentially, darker.

You should live more. Tomorrow is an unpromised uncertainty.

“Why, you devil,” she muttered, grabbing the eraser. “You don’t know anything about me.”

She wiped away the first two phrases and placed her own thought above the latest offering.

A coward cannot face their tomorrows. A hero always does, even when it is dim.”

“Take that,” she said, slapping the marker pen into the holder.

She worked with fervor and avoided looking at the board for the next few hours. Then, as she inevitably would, her eyes strayed to the whiteboard. She read it again. She was convinced that whoever had written those words would understand her offensive treatment of them, if they read her response.

She hoped they did.

Then, in retrospect, she chided herself over the fact that she wasn’t the slightest bit worried that someone was coming into her office after hours to write on on the board. Wasn’t that a real problem, invasive, and creepy?

And just who was this mystery writer? And why were they choosing to do such a thing? Was it a secret admirer? Someone who worried that she worked too hard and didn’t mingle with the others at the coffeepot as they discussed the latest gossip?

She made a mental note to watch others as they nodded hello to her as she moved from office to copier or to the mailroom. Anyone who showed a bit too much interest would be suspect.

The time to leave for the day arrived, and she considered wiping the board clean. After all, it was silly to let some nameless, faceless writer make her feel so defensive. But even as her hand clasped the dry eraser cleaner bottle, she changed her mind. Something inside her wanted this person, this writer, to know what she thought about the latest posting.

She considered locking the door, also. That would be a big reply in and of itself. But a perverse sense of empowerment made her leave it unlocked. Let the writer see and know her response. What was the worst that could happen?

She flounced down the hallway, swinging her lunch bag.

~@~

That’s it for this week, folks. I hope you are enjoying this little short work of mine. If you want to, share this link with others so they can read it, too.

http://wp.me/p3VxaG-1Q3 for the first part of The Whiteboard

 

 

 

 

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End of Year Reflection: Love What You Have Done-Comprehend What Didn’t Happen

End of Year Reflection: Love What You Have Done-Comprehend What Didn’t Happen

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Goodbye 2016!

As writers, we all tread the same path, and the end of a year punctuates our successes and failures.

I love how we can plan out our goals and follow up on them, success and loss. Many of you have kept me accountable with what I wanted to accomplish and what I managed to do. As the year wanes, I am certainly having moments of reflection. I did some things right, and some were just not done.

It’s fun to tell my blog followers when I make a goal and keep it, and also, when I can be upbraided for not making them. I hope you are doing this also.

Here is my goal post for 2016 if you want to refresh yourself with what I wanted to do.

Accomplished in writing/publishing

  • Published Disk of Death in ebook and print in February 2016
  • Finished edits on book two which took the title Yew to a Kill – also published it in print and ebook in May
  • Finished book three- Schooled in Murder- and published it in ebook (print will likely be next year) in November
  • Wrote two short stories/novellas as part of the mystery series (you can get the CHRISTMAS HEIST if you subscribe to the newsletter) In the Shadows came out in October
  • This item was not listed in my goal list but it was a goal of mine —- Double my 2015 income – did this by end of October (in fact, I quadrupled it)

Accomplished in personal development

  • Went to two cons – as a panelist and speaker which broadens my ability to do other work as a writer
  • Attended more than five webinars to learn new skills as an indie author/publisher
  • Took my health and weight loss seriously and lost 12 pounds in 2016
  • Continued to visit with other authors once a week in a mastermind group

Things that I did not accomplish

  • I did not get to Bouchercon in New Orleans, and I really would love to attend either that con or Killer Nashville in 2017 – (wouldn’t it be great if  I could do both????)
  • Provide more book reviews and contests – I just did not have enough time to manage to do this. I love to read, and do know the value authors place on solid reviews, but I took all that energy and funneled it into joining the team who judges a local book contest. I think it is an even swap. For the contests, I just did free giveaways mostly. They work just as well!
  • I did not get to expand Writer Groupie Podcast as much as I would have liked. I am considering re-branding and re-building it in 2017. It is either that, or monetize it, or give it up entirely. Stay tuned!

So, that is about all I have on reflecting back on the year gone past. I certainly do have plenty to think about for the new year ahead! Check out my Goals for 2017 post coming in the new year!

Writing a novel first draft via Nanowrimo

Some of us have already ended Nanowrimo, and some of us are about to do so with the close of November.

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No matter if you have succeeded with the 50,000 words or not, we all have gotten SOMETHING on our work accomplished and isn’t that the whole purpose?

This post is for those who are now holding that precious first draft. Rock on, you writer, you!

GIVE IT A WHIRL

I made my own story a nemesis this month by writing something from the seat of my pants, no outline, no idea what it would be. And it is a very important book in my series. A pivotal book, in fact. Bad idea.

I did a little brainstorming before Nano started. But only a little. With no idea of how I would accomplish all the big things I had to put into this story, well, let me just say, this is the WRONG way to go about penning a Nano book.

I also decided to fluff up a subplot from the last book and make it the main idea for this one, and that makes turning it into a mystery difficult. The silly thing wants to read like romantic suspense! There are points that mystery books have to hit, and this one wasn’t behaving.

The difference between writing a thriller/suspense and a mystery is:

In a thriller/suspense, the characters race against a crime about to happen.

In a mystery, the crime has already happened and the characters have to figure out whodunnit.

In this book, it is almost like I am writing both, and Shannon and Sal’s romance wants attention as well, so shoot-fire, who knows what will happen?

So, on about first draft writing- here are a few things to note:

Write your back cover blurb

Writing the back cover blurb helps you solidify main story elements. 

Shannon has to find a list of missing items in order to know whether the trust left to her is still worth the money her lawyer says it is. Before she can attack the attic, she has to talk to her aunt Nan and aunt Tillie. But something strange is going on at Tillie’s Home Cookin’—IT’S GOOOOD! and Shannon suffers a near miss. Could someone have painted a target on her aunts’ backs? As Shannon delves into the past, she uncovers the present, in all of its dangerous, and funny costumes.

What questions did you consider from this?

From the back cover blurb, a reader begins to form questions about the story inside the covers.

  1. What are the missing items?
  2. How much money is Shannon’s trust?
  3. What is going on at the restaurant?
  4. What near miss happens?
  5. What does Shannon find out about the past?

This is a pretty slim list, and your will likely be deeper and better thought out. But from such a list, you as the writer can begin to create chapters and scenes. This would be very helpful if you need some structure to your Nano book.

The items listed above got me about 20,000 words into my current WIP.  There are many more items to be considered of course, but this was a great beginning.

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Check out my latest YA sweet romance, PUPPY LOVE

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here : http://a.co/2R3An8C

 

 

There is just something about Thursday that feels good. For one thing, I am always busy at my job, which makes the time fly. Then of course, I meet with my mastermind group on Thursday evenings which always jazzes me in the writing department.

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I need jazzing too, let me tell you.

My Nanowrimo book is behind seriously in the word count department. The trouble is, I have been sick, and my hubby has required more of my time than formerly, due to his own health crises.

Thursday, where have you been all weeeeek??

Sometimes writing just doesn’t happen. For whatever reasons, we run out of steam, we run out of time, we run out of ideas. Has this happened to you?

When I need a major shot in the writing arm, I try these small little things to keep me going.

Tips to help when the writing is not flowing

  1. Sit at the WIP and try editing some stuff. Sometimes when we re-read the latest work, do a bit of snipping and fluffing, the ideas will once again flow.
  2. Open a new word doc or page, start free-writing. It doesn’t have to be about the story you are working on. It can be a diary entry where you just talk about the writing and how it is (or isn’t!) going. Sometimes you will get a nudge that the problem is not with the writing but rather with the story.
  3. Go for a walk and talk about it with yourself. I know, I know. It sounds nuts, right? But seriously, when you talk OUT LOUD about the writing, the story, etc. you sometimes get more out of it than just tapping keys.
I know this is pretty minor advice, but truthfully, it works for me.  And finally, remember, no book or story can be edited if it resides on a blank page.

___________

Have you started the journey yet? Fun, zany mystery!

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Interview with author, Mary Ellen Quire

Recently, I went to Louisville, KY to a convention called Imaginarium. I met a lot of great folks, and am going to be bringing you a LOT of interviews in the days to come over on Writer Groupie. Mary Ellen Quire was one of the attendees that I have the privilege of presenting to you here.

About Mary Ellen Quire

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I became interested in writing when I took a creative writing class (way back in high school) but I didn’t actually start getting serious with it until 2002.  Since I’ve worked as a veterinary technician for the past fifteen years and been the mother to four wonderful daughters, all of my writing time took place in the wee morning hours before other demands for my attention took over.  Now, I’m up before the chickens to write out of sheer habit.  In my “spare” time, I do a lot of reading, host a local book club, and enjoy a lot of Netflix marathons with my daughters.  I enjoy a few outdoor activities like fishing and camping but haven’t done either of these in years.

My husband and I have lived in the same county all of our lives, both of us preferring the small town quiet over the hustle and bustle of large town or city life.  We have two cats, a snake and a rat; all of them preventing us from becoming those whiney empty-nesters you hear so much about.  LOL

About Mary Ellen’s work

I started out writing poetry, nothing substantial, just playing around with it over the years.  When I finally got up the gumption to try and write a short story, I found that one turned into two, and then three and then four; why not try my hand at a novel?  I wrote my first book, which is still in the recesses of my file cabinet waiting to see the light of day, and loved the challenge of it.  In a novel, there is just so much space and time to work with as opposed to the compactness of a short story, so I decided to write another.

My first published book was Link Detonator, a time travel story with a new take on the fantasized ability.  It was followed the next year with the second book, Detonator Time’s Up.  Dark Deliverance came in 2010; my own tribute to the vampire and urban fantasy craze which has swept over the reading world.  Sheldon’s Diary (an idea spurred from a Facebook blog I write) was released in 2015 and the second book in the series, Cheddar’s Diary, is in production now.

Between all of these, I have a few other projects in the works; a detective series (I’m nearly finished writing the second book) and a light-hearted story about a burnt out assassin.  And like a lot of writers, there is a plethora of bits and pieces of projects that may or may not grow into something usable.

About her writing style

I focus a lot on my characters, which for me is the heart of any good story, so I really don’t stress a lot over the setting.  I also try and avoid lengthy stretches of prose mainly because as a reader, I find it a bit tedious and as a writer, I find you can reveal too much.  I love books which tease you along, slowly showing you the characters as you go, and that’s how I write.  I do use a lot of dialogue between my characters because it’s active and helps the story to flow smoothly.  And if I can’t stick a lot of sarcastic humor into it the mix, well, then I have accomplished nothing.

More from the author :

What do you find challenging about the writing life?

The writing life is not an easy path to take and there are many challenges to overcome in the chosen profession.  The biggest challenge for me is trying to schedule my time appropriately.  When you first start out, it’s all about writing the book.  But then it’s published and writing time suddenly needs to be cut so that other matters like marketing and promotion can be addressed.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?

I know a lot of authors would choose elaborate spots to write, but for me there’s no place like home, any other location would just provide one more distraction.

When asked to set goals, what do you see( for yourself or current WIP) in five years with your writing?

In five years, I hope to have the first two books of the detective series published and the third book completed.  I’d love to see the assassin novel out there as well.  I think it would really be a hit as a series.  Sheldon’s Diary should be running on its fifth book and I’d love to see it really take off.  But I think one of my biggest goals would be to travel around more for signings and conventions.

What are you reading right now?

I usually read several books at a time, which is some sort of crazy behavior I’ve taken on as a result of the amount of wonderful reading material out there (so many books, so little time) but at the moment I’m reading Stephen King’s Half Past Midnight, Charlotte Bronte’s novel Shirley, Dark Harvest by Karen Harper, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

Who is your favorite author?

I actually have two, Stephen King and Jim Butcher.

 

Give a bit of advice to an aspiring author.

For any writer, I would say to read everything you can get your hands on whether it’s in the genre you write or not.  There is just so much knowledge to be gained from doing so that I can’t stress it enough.  And as always, never give up on your dream.  The writing world runs on a speed which seems to crawl most of the time and everyone is rejected at some point or another, but don’t let that discourage you.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was good work of fiction.

BOOK INFO

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Sheldon’s Diary Blurb:

Ever wonder what your cat has been up to while you’re away or sleeping cozily in your bed? Wonder no longer. All you have to do is find their diary, plop down on the couch, and read all about their secret adventures. Please be aware that you may have wished you took a sedative before you turned the first page.

Sheldon’s Diary Book Excerpt:

Dear Diary,

I’d like to tell you, diary, how I’ve come to be, but you don’t care anymore than I do so let’s just skip it. Today began like all of the others. The female human of the house (the old one, that is) got up way before the butt crack of dawn to pay homage to the boiling and bubbling contraption I’ve heard them call a kofee-pot. With a container of the hot stuff–I know it’s hot because I’ve stuck my nose in there when she went to the room with the huge porcelain water bowl, which is defiled by both humans multiple times daily–she sits down in front of the thing I’ve heard her call a kompooter. Noisy and bright, that’s all I can really say about the stupid thing. It has a flat thing in front it with buttons, called a kee-bored. I heard her call it that one time when she told the big, hairless on top male of the household the damn thing wasn’t working. I watched for a little while, while she made the buttons tap, then got bored. Who in the world can sit and watch that dribble for longer than a minute or two. Sure, she makes great faces when she taps but it’s just not enough to make me pull up and rug and study her for long.

You can find Mary Ellen Quire at :
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