Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Deceiving Derek Cover Reveal

Monday, October 1st, 2012

This month I’m Indie-publishing the first of two romantic comedy short stories in a five-part series called LOVE & OTHER CALAMITIES. The series follows a group of friends in a fictional Seattle suburb called Rosewood. The series starts with the bachelorette party in Deceiving Derek and will end with the wedding of one of the secondary characters from the first story.

Deceiving Derek has been previously published (whereas the remaining four stories in the series will be Indie originals), and so I’ve taken the opportunity to update it technology-wise and also revise it both to reflect changes in my writing style and also because the hero, Derek McAllister, is a police detective and I wanted to make sure I nailed his character to the best of my ability. I had a great research resource in the form of a writer I’ve critiqued with over the years, but because geography can make a difference I also took the opportunity to pick the brains of a resource in Lynwood (near Seattle) and most especially a very helpful detective with the Edmonds Police Department, also near Seattle. All three resources were invaluable, and of course any errors or, ahem, fictional liberties are my own.

Deceiving Derek first appeared on the website of the first publisher of HEAD OVER HEELS. Later, before epublishing took off, I sold the story to another small epublisher, who sold maybe 11 copies from their website over a period of seven months. The Kindle was getting introduced just when that small epublisher went under. I began to wonder if this story was cursed.

Then I was offered another contract to publish the story—from a traditional epublisher that is still around and has published a lot of books. I decided not to accept that offer, because I wanted to retain audio rights to the story and the publisher, while they did not have plans to release the story in audio at the time, wanted to contract those rights for the possible future. And so I declined, and the story sat on my hard drive.

Will it ever release in audio? What inspired me to take this story and develop it into a series? You’ll have to stay tuned to this blog!

For now, Deceiving Derek will see life again as an ebook, and once I’m finished writing the series, perhaps also in a print anthology (depending on the eventual length of the series). I’m very excited to get it out there again, especially in its new incarnation. But I need to learn formatting first, so the release date is still a couple of weeks off.

In the meantime…drum roll…I love this cover designed by the talented Dara England of LFD Designs for Authors. It totally captures the romantic comedy mood with some winky-winky flair.

What do you think?

Stop the Madness!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I am obsessed with research. Well, I’m not obsessed in the sense that I love to research. No, I’m obsessed in the sense that once I’ve started researching, I can’t stop.

It’s a disease, I swear.

A few weeks ago, a Canadian writer friend and I brainstormed revisions for the single title I finished this summer. We came up with a fantastic way to deepen the heroine’s GMC. I passed the brainwave by another Canadian writer. She gave it glowing reviews.

This week I began researching. My first step was to post questions to a couple of writers’ listservs. I’m very glad I did, because the American members alerted me to a whole host of issues I hadn’t considered. On the other hand, their replies sent me back to the Land of Research. A land that, all too often in my case, develops into a bog. I experience a great deal of difficulty digging my way out. There’s just so damn much to learn! And if there’s one thing my mind loves, it’s information. Even the useless bits.

My characters in this story are American. I am not. And the revisions to my heroine’s GMC involve the American medical/health insurance system. Every time I think I’ve hit upon a way to make the brainwave work, I smash into another roadblock. Now, I do believe the revisions can work. They will work. If I would put half the energy into reading the articles I’ve printed off the Internet as I have into scrounging for them, I’m sure I would come across the perfect solution. But every time I read another article, I feel a compelling need to hit the Internet again. Just in case, you know, I missed something the first trillion times.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing I don’t write historicals.

Are you a research hound? Do you have binders filled with articles you’ll probably never use? Do you feel the need to read 30 news stories when 3 or 5 will probably do? How do you stop the madness?

Castle, Yes or No?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Anyone watching Castle? I started watching it and liked it. But I don’t usually watch cop shows (okay, Castle’s a writer, but he works with a cop in this series), so the format—opening with the murder, then they solve it—grew a bit tiresome. Although, I must say, I love the characters, Castle and his mom in particular. Kate Beckett, the detective with whom he verbally spars, I’m not as sold on.

Two weeks ago, the DVR glitched and the episode didn’t record. I realized I didn’t miss it. Last week, the episode recorded, but I grew bored watching it and deleted halfway through. Then I discovered that Lee Lofland, a member of one of my writing lists and author of Police Procedure and Investigation (great reference book), is reviewing Castle each week on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Okay, now I have a great reason to start watching again.

I’ve been meaning to plug Lee’s blog for some time now. If you write mysteries or romance mysteries or romantic suspense, check it out.

Lee watches Castle each week, then corrects the procedure mistakes in his blog. Here’s the entry for last night’s episode, and here’s the link for the Archived reviews of the previous episodes. (The review for last night’s episode is at the top of the Archive listing, last week’s is next, and then you’ll have to hit the Older Entries link to get reviews to earlier episodes).

If you read the reviews, you’ll quickly realize that Lee spots tons of errors in the writing of this show. An excellent resource and opportunity for learning.

Okay, how about Southland? Anyone watching that? I’ve watched the first two episodes and am intrigued enough to keep checking in. Yes, the episodes follow a pattern so far, just like Castle does. In the case of Southland, the first two episodes opened with a scene from the ending, then started from the beginning and worked their way back to the ending. I don’t mind this technique, but if done every time, again, it will grow tiresome for me. I have no idea if Southland portrays the police accurately or not. Wish that I could find a review of Southland each week on Lee’s blog (hint, hint, Lee). (P.S. If you’re already doing the reviews, let me know where to find them; my time is short these days).

Anyone remember Annie from Men in Trees? She’s in Southland. Totally different character. She’s great to watch.

Five Thursday Novembers

Friday, November 28th, 2008

I had a panic attack when I woke up this morning. Not a real panic attack, but a Holy-Crap-Now-I’ve-Done-It moment. You see, my work-in-progress is set in November, in the United States. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October, but because American Thanksgiving is occurring now (as in yesterday), I happened to hear or read that American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. Frankly, I can no longer remember if I heard or read that information sometime yesterday or if my muse decided to torture me with it upon waking.

The point is, I had to do a mad scramble to Google, because I always choose a year to set my fictional stories in, so I can print out a calendar and ensure I’m not forgetting something like, oh, that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in November. And then I keep track of my scenes according to the calendar dates.

My WIP is set in 2007 (I don’t mention the year, I just use 2007 for plotting purposes). Last year, November had five Thursdays. This year, November has four Thursdays. Thanksgiving and Black Friday figure into my plot, so you can imagine my mini-moment of freak out. Ack, do I have to revise the entire freaking manuscript so that Thanksgiving falls a week later? Thank God for Google, because typing When Was Thanksgiving in 2007? assured me that I had properly researched American Thanksgiving dates last year and wasn’t just making up the extra Thursday after the holiday! (Forgetting what you have and haven’t researched is an unfortunate side effect of setting aside a manuscript to work on another manuscript, as was the case with this particular story late last year).

Of course now I’m obsessing over—how often does November have five Thursdays? Do I need to worry about this/mention it in my story? When (note the confidence) this book gets published, will American readers think, that stupid Canadian, she set Thanksgiving in the the second-to-last week of the month?!

Halloween also figures in this story, and I do mention several times that Halloween falls on a Wednesday, which should alert a clever reader that November 1st falls on a Thursday, which is how my WIP’s November winds up with five Thursdays… Is that clear enough?

And, by the way, yes, I do have PMS, thanks for asking.

A Cop’s Life A to Z

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

That’s Z as in Zed! Zed, I tell ya!

Okay, it’s Z as in Zee. Seeing as the instructor is American, I’ll give her the Zee.

During September, as part of my research for the WIP, I had the pleasure of taking Kathy Bennett’s on-line class, A Cop’s Life A to Z, put on by the RWA Kiss of Death chapter.

What an excellent class! As well as being a writer, Kathy is a cop with the LAPD. As it so happens, the hero of my WIP is an ex-cop with the LAPD, so I had to take this class and I recommend it most heartily. I have enough emails printed out to fill a binder (which I will do, you know, when the moon turns green), and I gained great insight into several aspects of a cop’s life.

If you’re a member of Kiss of Death and you considered taking Kathy’s class and didn’t, next time she offers it, sign up. I can’t see how you could be disappointed.

P.S. Kathy has a blog on her new website, too.

The Body Guide

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Here’s a cool medical reference site, The Body Guide. Thanks to CJ Lyons for posting the link to the Crimescenewriters email loop.

The site allows you to choose between a male or female nekkid (aside from fig leaves) body. From the left, you select which body structure you need for your research, then hold your mouse over the Adam or Eve figure to I.D. the structure name. Navigation links on the right provide details and more illustrations. If you ever need to differentiate between the lumbosacral plexi and the sympathetic trunk in your WIP, this is the site to help you.

Now, quick, who can tell me which bodily system to highlight to remove the fig leaf from Adam’s body? First person to answer correctly wins Perv of the Week.