May 1, 2018
Well, not really ‘oops,’ but mercy, I have been busy. Halted work on Nobody Girl (WIP name that was once Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis) to fiddle with the (last?) of the edits on How to Steal a Romance.
Ya’ll remember that one, right?
In the meantime, with the edits, reading, and interviewing … I have posted much to my WordPress site. Ahem. Cough. I have been flying by social media. A post here and there.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Katrina McCain about her non-fiction, ‘Beyond Being Good,’ and I will say she has an acute understanding of the double life we may live as Christians. Check here: https://cindy212.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/beyond-being-good-by-katrina-mccain-a-five-star-author/
If you understand this conundrum, please read her book and blog.
This is another good post from the insane, I mean … wise Kristen Lamb’s blog. These are editing tips you do not want to skip.
Why… Pay… More?
So slash those sweet lil’ things you love so much. Hey, I had to, and it … sucked.
Don’t blink. Save them in another folder if you can’t let go, but … <pulls pages from your hands> Just Do It. Stop thinking.
Today I’ve had the pleasure to interview Katrina McCain on Beyond Being Good, her first breakout non-fiction that tackles the ‘trying to be perfect as an imperfect person.’
Claire: Hi, Katrina. New author, how exciting! You’re from North Carolina, right?
Katrina: Yes–I grew up in Charlotte and attended college there. My younger brother lives in Texas, and I am married (5 years, now). My husband, Jarrett and I have a 2 year old daughter and another on the way!
Claire: You’re a busy mom, and congratulations. You have a fascinating past as a fashion model ~ what a different world than your ministry, Pearls of Hope. What is your ministry about?
Katrina: Pearls of Hope Outreach, is a nonprofit organization in North Carolina. We have 16 members between the ages of 20 to 35 years old. We engage in Bible Study and outreach ministries. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other Christian women in the area. I’ve really grown personally from the experience.
Claire: That’s terrific, getting young women involved in studying the Word and in outreach ministries. So, tell me a bit of your testimony, coming to Christ?
Katrina: It’s been a long road to Jesus. My parents are ministers and I admire them greatly, but I always felt like I was missing something. I knew right from wrong, but I struggled. Once in college, I reinvented myself, launching into a 9-year fashion career. I began to compromise for the sake of having friends. I did things I knew displeased God, yet did them anyway. I became hypocritical, because I lived one way around friends, but portrayed the “good girl” to family and church. It became exhausting.
Claire: Exhausting is a good way to put it.
Katrina: I guess you could say I was a “goody two shoes” type of person. People thought I was a Christian, but I knew I wasn’t. I had a lot of head knowledge, but not a relationship with God. Because of my upbringing, I determined to maintain my virginity, which by the grace of God, I did. But I found my friends’ lifestyle to be a huge hindrance on my dating life. I cut corners in my dating, which led me into a relationship with a boy with his own issues. Ultimately, he lost his life over his choices. He was robbed and shot 9 times and died in the summer of 2007. We were only 21 years old. I was devastated!
Claire: How heartbreaking!
Katrina: I felt so alone, ashamed around family. Even though they extended their love to me, I wasn’t sure if God was still there. For a long time I believed God was punishing me, but Scripture tells us that God is close to the broken hearted (Ps. 34:18) So, one night, I prayed this really sloppy prayer. I was so remorseful. I asked the Lord to forgive and change me, and though I wasn’t really sure what that meant or even what it entailed, I believed with all my heart that He could do it. That prayer was my first step to salvation, and I’ve been on this journey, ever since.
Claire: Very powerful testimony. A lot of heartbreak, too. Who would you say was the biggest influence in your life’s path?
Katrina: My mother. Hands down. She has a heart for people and whatever you’re going through, she finds ways to understand with compassion. Nothing is off limits. She’s open to listening and discussing anything with any one. I desire to be like her.
Claire: It sounds like she really grounded you. Quite the variety from Mother Teresa type talking about Betty Crocker to Jerry Springer! I would love to meet her.
Your book is for every woman. But tell us a bit about Beyond Being Good.
Katrina: In the fashion world, the image of perfection can be debilitating. The expectations are outrageous. The same can be said in our personal lives. The pressure of perfection is one that God never put on us to carry. Salvation is a gift, not an object we have to work or prove ourselves worthy of. In Beyond Being Good, I share my mistakes and failures. People need to know that they are not alone in their imperfections. I’m very transparent, because pretenses only perpetuate the myth that perfection is necessary to live in abundance. What a lie!
Claire: Again, amen. Once we drop the veil of self-secrecy, we can live out ‘carrying one another’s burdens.’
Katrina: Beyond Being Good is my gift to anyone who is in a place where she is tired of her past year, past week, past cuss word, past abortion, past lie, past drink, past mistakes holding her back from truly experiencing the fullness of God’s perfect love over her.
Claire: Well said. And you’re quite open and real in Beyond Being Good.
Katrina: That’s exactly why Beyond Being Good is my message to women of all backgrounds, that our goodness is not required for God’s love. I think church culture, subconsciously, teaches this error and many of us have been deeply wounded with confusion regarding God’s grace. But the Bible is filled with imperfect people who have been used by God in very dynamic ways!
Claire: –Oh, amen, amen. Who are some of your favorite authors, non-fiction and fiction?
Katrina: I’m not much of a fiction reader—there are movies to curb that crave. But my favorite nonfiction authors are John Piper, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, Gary Thomas, Gary Chapman and, believe it or not, Malala Yousafzai (the youngest woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize).
Claire: Great authors, all. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
Katrina: Jess Connolly, writer of Dance, Stand, Run, and Wild and Free. She has such a heart for women that I find captivating. She’s about my age, writes to women in our Millennial generation, but is still very relevant to older women, as well. Also, Stasi Eldridge. Stasi’s book, Becoming Myself, is a staple in my personal library! Each time I read it, I re-discover new aspects of myself as a woman and Christian. I hope to write books that produce similar reactions in others.
Claire: Something we can look for, reality in our lives, not shame. I love Dance, Stand and Run! Jess Connolly helps us ‘get’ that grace isn’t cheap indeed. And Stasi Eldridge is a terrific author with a difficult past. I read Captivating and believe it to be one of the most spiritually-awakening books I’ve read. Know you are on this edge is really exciting. What are some great books you’ve read recently?
Katrina: Recently, I’ve completed Fierce Hearted by Holly Gerth, And We Are Changed by Priscilla Shrier and Still Waiting by Ann Swindell.
Claire: Nice! Priscillar Shrier’s book is so raw, real, it is tear-provoking. And Holly Gerth reminds me of a 21st century Brother Lawrence, in Practicing the Presence of God. Great choices! So now, what do you do in your downtime?
Katrina: Ha, downtime! When I can steal a moment from mommy life, I love getting dinner with my friends! I love getting dressed up, going into the city and having a great meal with extra giggles! For family time, Jarrett, my husband and I, enjoy doing quiet things, like walks in the park or visiting a museum before dinner. Any time spent with him is great!
Claire: You definitely deserve rest! What sort of research did you do to write this book?
Katrina: I studied the scriptures, particularly Romans and James. I wanted to be sure that the words I spoke aligned with God’s Word. I believe, just as the human heart is flawed, so are human opinions. If my writing doesn’t line up with God’s Word, then I don’t want to risk being at fault in giving untruthful information.
Claire: Agreed. Too many opinions not backed by Scripture, and so many people fall for it, not testing the scriptures What are you working on now? Any chance of a follow up?
Katrina: Right now, I am working on carrying my baby girl, full term! She’s due in July Also, I am focused on sharing my book, loving my family and being available to my readers who reach out to me.
Claire: Oh, groan and excitement! I bet you are counting the minutes. Congratulations coming in July– and congratulations on your very well-received book.
I have so many more questions for Katrina, that we are going to follow up with more interviews on living for God’s glory, fully in His grace. Thank you, Katrina
*If you want to purchase Katrina McCain’s book, it’s available through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Being-Good-Perfection-Imperfect/dp/1595557598/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524007800&sr=1-1&keywords=beyond+being+good
*Katrina lives in North Carolina and blogs every Sunday on relationships, faith and her personal life lessons. To connect with Katrina and learn more about her, please visit http://www.KatrinaMcCain.com
Gone for the day. Social media is sucking up what’s left of my soul and I have no desire to fall into pools or poles for that matter, no matter how awesome the text.
Can I go for at least an hour without (addictive as heroin, cocaine, cigarettes) checking my sites? Not even texting.
See you in a few. Days. Maybe hours. Minutes?
Always looking for something new and cool, I was sent this webinar registration coming up for the reconstruction of the fragments of skeleton remains. No, not the gif…
Reconstruction of complete skeletal remains has been notoriously difficult to do, and incredibly time-consuming for the ever-so patient puzzle reconstructionist, backlogged in many cases. The fragments are often shattered bone, nothing left intact. Think ‘Fargo.’
If you are fascinated / obsessed with forensics, you will want to see the latest of technology that will be available to the uh, FBI near you if you currently live on the East Coast (where it is first going to be available) … register and watch this webinar. Might wanna take notes. This technology comes from several sources, putting ‘Bones’ almost in the realm of reality.
I’m such a tease, but below is the information.
Registration is free, but you get to go through the series of questions. I simply add that I am a writer… so don’t sweat it. But I’d recommend hurrying on that, and if you have police/crime scene background, please use that instead of writer/author, I’d hate to get the whole group kicked out ’cause of that.
***And … to continue from Part One of yesterday’s post on Autopsy. I went through dialogue with two views of an autopsy scene: first from the professional, the information to skull and on down. The second on the newbie’s near loss of stomach contents et. al. while presented with her first degloved head during the dissection.
Needless to say, later in the narrative between her and partner, keeping her eyes on the victim’s painted toenails prove some evidence down the line. Imagine that.
For the truly dedicated medical or non-medical writer … take the coolest, most old-school class from the recently passed Marian Diamond, who at 90 years old was one of the first to study Albert Einstein’s brain.. She taught anatomy and if you have an hour a day, watching her lectures are fascinating (and now, free). And yes, I went through the class (twice, because she is a legend). This is her class:
But for this portion of the Autopsy, let me break it down:
What reasons would the medical examiner, coroner, pathologist be required to be present (or at least, highly recommended) at the crime scene? Answer? Depends.
If the pathologist/coroner/medical examiner (these terms are not interchangeable, you may have to Google … or DuckDuckGo the terms… (sorry I had an NCIS moment; I will be going with ‘Pathologist’ to cover all from here on) doesn’t follow up with correct procedure, well… imagine the media fallout, the legal ramifications, the civil lawsuits against the police station, the innocent imprisoned, the serial killer who goes free, the family who cannot have closure.
Each state has it’s own laws… you may find these are standardized soon under the auspices of the FBI. permission to do an autopsy is not an individual’s verbal/written consent. The autopsy is performed based on findings at the scene per dictated by state law.
Internal Exam: (Dear Lord in Heaven when was she going to get here?)
In most fiction, the prelim, while important, can be summed up with the words, “Didn’t find blah blah blah in the prelim. During the internal exam, however…”
If your crime-fighting hero/heroine is the main character, don’t forget the prelim. ‘Gathered are precious pearls hiding in plain view…’ Quote ~ (Not really) Yoda
The internal exam also includes evaluating external signs of rigor mortis and lividity.
You’ll recognize rigor mortis as soon as you see it, er your pathologist or detective, and lividity when the body is turned over. Rigor mortis (aka ‘rigor’) is muscle stiffening after death when the body stops making substances that keep you in motion and your muscles, joints movable. No, older people are not in rigor mortis. Yeesh. Unless of course, they are recently dead like, in the past two days.
Rigor begins the process at approximately two hours after death. Stiffening increases from eight to twelve hours at the peak, and gradually decreases over thirty-six to forty-eight hours.
Livor mortis (lividity) is something of great interest to your detective during the process of walking the scene. This process begins thirty minutes after the heart stops, and the victim’s blood follows gravity, appearing purplish. If your victim has lividity to the stomach yet you find him/her lying on his/her back, the body has been moved, because there is a time limit. Six hours, and lividity is fixed.
Now, evaluate the scalp to toes, noting head, neck, spine, thorax, abdomen for wound size, type: from a bullet? trajectory and ‘obvious’ wound tract’; then internally.
Start with a liver temperature. This with rigor and livor mortis helps the timeline. Bugs help, also. Ahem. But have your pathologist look for and obtain objects that do not belong in a body. Ever. Bullets, metal fragments, spears, surgical instruments or car keys left there during surgery (haven’t heard of car keys just yet), cellphones, surgical gauze (happens all the time) micro chips swallowed by the victim to hide evidence, jewelry, potatoes & other veggies… (found in nether regions), light bulbs (found), coke bottles (found again in the down under), drugs (and … done). I have seen some interesting things in fiction. ‘Sideways Eight’ by AJ Wallace comes to mind. Brow-raising and well, downright entertaining things found in places, well, thanks AJ, things one can never un-see.
If your story has a separate CSU department, they will receive clothing to serum. The will assess in depth, and for brevity, your story may diverge here: “The lab found animal blood on the clothes, dirt from the scene, but …” However, you know what’s gone on in your writer’s brain, and only add what pushes your plot forward. My medical examiner explains he found a substance in the vitreous humor, and your reader may not know what this is, so then, neither does the detective (for the reader’s sake) and has to ask, ‘what is the vit…?’ Grumpy pathologist reports ,’Gooey eyeball stuff.’ But what’s found in the gooey eyeball stuff plays into the story.
This way, you haven’t lost your reader to watch Marian Diamond’s lectures.
There are a few different techniques (Rokinansky, Virchow) on performing autopsies. I prefer to vary my pathologist’s methods largely because I want my characters, including the pathologists (whether main character or not) to have their own professional quirks. This means, some start with the cranial evaluation and work their way down, removing, weighing and measuring the organs, while another method leaves everything in place and evaluates right there. Both are fine, but there are pitfalls and benefits to both.
Leaving everything in place helps the pathologist assess each organ as it sits … and find the wound tract. But those organs are slippery little buggers, and the pathologist could potentially accidentally ruin a wound tract. On the other hand, removing each organ by snipping it loose can damage a portion of a wound not seen while removing organs; though evaluation of stomach contents, and other wounds i.e. to the lungs, heart, etc., are measured easily. Or with slightly less slippage…
(There are the med student clinical methods [dissections] that follow along with the anatomy class and are part of a year long anatomy class. [I have a website for that, too, if you are interested] but dissections are not the same as an autopsy. There is a thirty minute graphic Spanish speaking autopsy, well done, trust me, you will know what / how an autopsy can be done with a soup ladle, a measuring cup, a butcher knife, and a hammer… That is how it is done in parts of Mexico.
And at the end of that thirty minute video you will know what the Y cut is, the evaluation of the viscera and organs, finding the wound tract, and where the bullet entered the heart. But you may want to know just where to get that Ginsu knife for your next Thanksgiving bird, because he was able to slice through the skull and still thinly slice that brain like a pastrami loaf… You’ll also know what [without needing translation] a degloved head looks like, like my detective in Nobody Girl and the pathologist in How to Steal a Romance.)
Now evaluate the wound tract. Make certain specimens are collected from the eyes (vitreous humor–contains chemicals that can be evaluated to compare to tissue, organs and blood). Collect hair from scalp, pubic hair. Collect all specimens there. Measure blood loss before or after removing the viscera (fatty material plus the small, large intestines), and the stomach. And if not done yet, evaluate the vagina and anus, as well.
Now ya’ll might be thinking, so why do I have to take tissue samples from everything when the dude was obviously hit by a bus and his head crushed?
Well, good point, Dr. Watson.
But … you’re wrong. What if your victim was hit by the bus not due to bus driver’s menacing or careless driving but because he had a brain tumor that caused confusion? And lookie there, right on the street, your CSU can gather that brain matter up for you. Now how bad would you feel if Mr. (or Ms.) Detective determined, and judge/jury locked up some poor schmuck for murder when it had everything to do with the victim’s health?
And how would Mr. (or Ms.) Detective feel if she didn’t check for psych records, mental status with the family? Hmm. You see where I am going. PLOT TWIST! Because homicide … it ain’t easy.
And yep. Another post in a few days on what follows when your pathologist is done slicing and dicing.
Last time I wrote, it was about fingerprinting old school. I promised to write about processing in the lab.
No. No. No. I am old and female, giving me the right, no, two rights… to change my mind. We are talking a bit about blood and guts today. The autopsy. This is for writers who want more realism (not CSI — fake, not NCIS, fake) in their fiction.
So … you may ask. Go ahead. Fine by me. ‘Where do you get off thinking you are an expert?’ Well… okay, cool, be rude. Oh wait, that was my question, ahem. I’ve amassed over time search/rescue techniques useful; volunteer forensics with sheriff’s department, webinars, seminars, anatomy classes with gross dissection classes, and thorough training & bucks (and I mean a lot–spent a gazillion clams for FBI and National Forensic Science Training Institute).
In the medical field for 30+ years, I know the lingo, and writing about procedures in the hospital/trauma/office, I also have down. But, yes I was a CSI / NCIS junkie… but found out they had a lot of fakery going on in their shenanigans, and since I write fiction … I turned to the real world.
This information will give you a full autopsy — not you personally, but the lowdown. You’ll see procedures here that are real.
So, let’s begin … My main character, Catherine Cade (amnesiac) in How to Steal a Romance works as a volunteer (long story) and finds she has skills (again, long story). The first visit to the morgue (here, called the Dead Room), she performs an autopsy under the strict supervision of the medical examiner for legal reasons. Prior to this autopsy, he asked her to direct his every move on a Jane Doe. I left names and character interactions out:
I started. “Who have we here?”
“Unknown Hispanic male, found off the parkway, no ID. No tattoos.”
“In the big homeless campground?” I pointed at his hair and fingers. “He’s clean cut. Did you scrub under his nails?”
“Of course not.”
“His crew cut and clean nails don’t scream homeless to me. Who found him, and where?”
“Under the bridge by another homeless man. His clothes were filthy, torn up.”
I checked his hands. “It’s not conclusive. Callouses on his hands, some arthritic changes, consistent with manual labor. Musculature to upper and lower extremities are well-developed. What about trace evidence? Any dirt or grass from a different area under the bridge?”
“Tech is going over clothing and particulates. We obtained samples from the scene to compare.”
“X-rays? Did you get prints to send to IAFIS, swab for DNA?”
“All done.” He pointed to the films.
I stood at the old-fashioned x-ray box. “He’s had dental work.” I pointed. “Here’s a fracture of the nasal bone, some tissue swelling here, suggests fall or altercation.” I stepped to another light box and viewed the vertebrae. “Cervical fracture, thoracic and lumbar fractures. What’s this?” I examined an image of his leg. “Spiral fracture.”
“Not for this poor guy. Grab the mic and turn it on when I tell you to. Lower the table a bit, if you would.”
“Comin’ down.” He lowered the table and winked.
Gonna be a long autopsy.
He held the mic.
I turned to face my patient. “Talk to me John Doe. Tell me why you died. Okay, turn the microphone on. Adult, well-nourished Hispanic male, appears to be in his mid-thirties. External exam shows multiple bruising, over right posterior to anterior neck, right. Multiple abrasions right lower leg. Mic off.” I took more pictures and my eyes drifted past the medical examiner as I contemplated what I found.
“What?” He asked.
“I’ve seen this before. The fracture with the abrasion. I could be wrong, but I think he caught his leg in something like a chair or ladder, fell, causing a spiral fracture and fractures to his back and neck.”
“You’ve seen this before?”
I didn’t know when and hesitated. “Sometime back. Here’s the x-ray—fractured nose and the surrounding tissue engorged with blood visible even on plain film. Cervical fracture is different. Any wood, plant particulates I want collected.”
“What do you think?”
Silent, except for recording the procedure, I made an incision from the mastoid process behind the ear, extending coronally to the opposite mastoid, reflecting skin and muscle away, one centimeter above the eyebrows. After evaluating, I exposed the occipital protuberance, and used the vibrating bone saw to cut horizontally on both sides from the center of the forehead to the base of the mastoid process. Further cuts and notches allowed me to remove the cranium, evaluate, and lift out the brain for closer inspection.
“Mic on. No traumatic injury noted to base of skull, despite fracture to cervical vertebrae three and four. Absence of bleeding to the brain and interstitial tissues are inconsistent with a fall. Bruising to neck, lateral, sternocleidomastoid to posterior. Mic off.”
“Well? Any ideas?”
“Yeah, music would drown out your voice.”
“Wow. Boss lady is snippy.”
I didn’t miss a beat. “Gee, wonder how many times I’ve heard that one. Mic on.”
I made the Y-incision from collarbone left to right, past the sternum to the pelvis. “Clip the sternum for me. I need you to grab the enterome above you, hand it to me when I ask.”
I snapped my gloved fingers, held my hand out, and weighed the organs. I used the enterome to shear them open. “Taking samples for biopsy of mouth, esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, trachea, lungs, heart, bladder, spleen. Mic off.” I handed the samples to the medical examiner after I weighed the organs and he put the samples in paraffin wax.
I asked, “What did homicide say about the scene?”
We both put a new pair of gloves on. “They wait for me to tell them.”
“What do you think?”
“Undetermined. Possible scuffle out of hand.”
“Microphone on. John Doe’s liver normal. No sign of cirrhosis, no enlargement.” I added what the m.e. told me. “Alcohol negative, awaiting other toxicology. Mic off.”
“Mic on. He has a postmortem fracture to the base of his skull. Bruising on his neck, premortem. Blunt force trauma after death. Mic off. Why? Maybe a chokehold. Spit balling. It’s possible John Doe fell from a ladder and caught his leg, or someone helped him fall. Someone busted his nose and held him in a chokehold until he died. Then, a killer fractured his neck—but after death, there’s no blood associated with the trauma.” I hesitated. “We deal with the evidence, but my gut says this man was murdered.”
“You think the victim knew his killer, if you’re right?”
I paused. “Impossible to say. The fractured neck could mean anything.”
“We’ll toss it back to homicide.
I tossed my gloves into the hazardous waste trash, left the Dead Room and showered.
That, without the interactions and names is an authentic autopsy. Remember, a dissection is far different than autopsy, so if you are going for what a med student deals with, let me know. Got that, too.
From my second novel, Nobody Girl, I introduce my main character who as a cop, has never had a dead body in her rural town, nor seen a autopsy just like this. I’ve left names out at this point. This is with my agent:
The coroner unlocked the door to the cold morgue room, and pulled one of the three refrigerated body boxes toward us on a wheeled rack, revealing the victim’s remains. The putrefaction almost overwhelmed me. I gagged, and he handed me the peppermint. Tempted to stick the bottle up my nose, I instead put a small dot under my nostrils.
“Take a look at the x-rays. No other fracture except her right occipital lobe—and whatever tore through her.” (The coroner) pointed. “Let me show you what I found—beside the obvious.”
He walked to the table and uncovered the body.
Oh, no, I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing this. He had cut through the skin and skull and pulled her face and skin down over her neck. My knees wobbled. (My partner) stepped behind me and grasped me by the back of my jeans. He pushed his right knee between my legs. No doubt he’d bend his knees if a human chair became a necessity, or if I slid down and fainted.
(He) whispered, “Are you okay with me keeping you upright? I can let you drop, if you want. Toss you outside?”
“Whatever you do, do not let go.”
I prayed, hoping (my new detective’s) professionalism would carry me through this awkward and uncomfortable autopsy evaluation.
(The coroner) said, “I took the liberty of removing the connective tissue to show you this. I found small pieces of wood imbedded in the skin, not the bone, consistent with where we found her. More for my practice than needed. This happened premortem or perimortem, but I am sure that’s not the reason she is dead.”
“No?” I wanted to leave. I averted my eyes. The victim’s feet were visible, and if I could just keep my eyes there …. Her toenails, painted an off-white French nail-style, had otherwise clear glitter. The dirt cleaned away, her feet were something I would expect of her—perfect, but very dead—and thanks to our coroner, she was faceless. I shouldn’t have compared her feet to mine, but she didn’t have funky-looking runner’s feet. This mental exercise did keep me from looking at the degloved head.
(The coroner) pulled the sheet down to her torso. “This puncture wound. Perforated her saline breast implant. Whatever did this spiraled and decompressed and tore tissue, coring through. Nothing else except some tiny bits of metal. Didn’t see them until I re-examined the x-ray. I’ll let Duluth handle that. Looking at the entrance wound, I’m guessing a diameter of 6 inches.”
“What’s the ammo that could produce this?”
(The homicide detective) crossed his arms. “The JDJ .950 can produce an entry hole that large. Has a two-hundred pound kick. Small cannon. Largest rifle caliber out there. If that was the rifle used, it would leave bruises on the killer’s chest.”
(The coroner) shook his head. “The other conundrum is the wound tract, it has a pattern, just an uneven pattern. After the fatal wound, she fell, hit her head and fractured it, the tissue swelling said she didn’t die instantly. Someone took a rock to her face as she bled out. Poor girl suffered.” He glanced at me. “Check the edges of this wound, here. There was no surviving this. I estimated the exit wound is much smaller.”
(Detective) shifted. “Have you seen this before?”
(Coroner) removed his gloves, washed his hands, and rubbed his balding dome. “Son, I’m a family doctor and volunteer coroner. First time to deglove a head, too. So, no, I haven’t. It’ll take me some time to figure this one out.”
Next up … a visit to the Body Farm, including some scenes from How to Steal a Romance. Which will be disgusting.
Aren’t you excited?
And as always, please visit Kristen Lamb’s blog for writers: 13 Ways Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers — Kristen Lamb’s Blog http://authorkristenlamb.com/
Kristen Lamb has blogging down.
Especially about serial killers, I MEAN writers. So, as a writer, I can relate. Reading her blog this afternoon just sent me into a fit of giggling.
I have read her blogs, and her fiction. She is an awesome serial killer, I MEAN writer, and if you aren’t following her, well, your loss. Give me a comment that you are not, and I may write you in as a … victim.
Read. Please. Before I add you to that list …
I read this blog and clearly, will be reading this soon. The genre is ‘up my alley,’ and reading the interview has sent me to Amazon, on my wish list!
Check out the interview with Jennifer Haynie romantic/suspense
For crime fiction writers, you won’t need all of this information. However, if it’s tucked away in your mind, what you do need on paper is available to you.
So… fingerprinting. You see it all the time on TV, watched as times have changed. I have trained in the ‘How To Collect Prints’ (the old fashioned way in a rural setting).
Here is an overview of the ‘new’. Technology has changed; a new standard of equipment is the portable scanner over one or more fingers. If you know anything medical, it’s not unlike taking someone’s finger oximetry (which I also know how to do).
The CSU team in the field or medical examiner does this work. The finger of the dead or live victim/suspect is placed into or on a scan, much like your biometric safe where we know you keep your guns… And there are several new techniques even for scanning.
The scan is saved and uploaded to a computer, where the very accurate image is sent to local, state databases to send to AFIS, the Automated Fingerprint ID System (local, county or state) or IAFIS, which is nationally maintained through the FBI. Both AFIS and IAFIS store not just fingerprints, but criminal history.
So, you’d better have a spotless background check before you purchase a gun and/or concealed carry weapon… The DMV is now also sending your picture into state databases by the way, to match you and your prints together.
Yes, we all know that DNA trumps everything (except in identical twins, only fingerprints finalize identity). Circumstances, environment, clothing, and… the smoking gun. We love that smoking gun. Especially in reality. The ‘interview’ involving anyone around the crime scene, knows the victim, or saw everything can be recorded on tape and video without consent because after all, it’s just an interview, no Miranda rights needed (some interview policies are state-based). Good baseline gathering for your evidence.
Back to old-school prints still being used today.
Collecting old-fashioned prints is an art. It can take some time to master how to print, lightly dip into the powder of choice, and lightly twirling the ‘brush’ (I must make my confession. When I was in the learning process, one night after midnight … I printed the kitchen with black carbon powder. My kitchen. I then face planted into bed a good two hours later, and my early riser husband had… a … fit… it gets everywhere, on you, your skin, your dog, etc.).
First… inking the fingers. Use an ink pad and fingerprinting paper. Get the entire pad of each finger blackened and roll each—right after each finger printed. There’s a method to this messy madness.
Your suspect or victim must have clean hands/fingers so dirt particles and grease do not interfere with the process. Hold each finger for both ink and print paper. With the same, light pressure, roll the thumb from the outside to the inside. Fingers, roll onto the paper inside to outside. Outside to insideà if you aren’t sure what I mean, stick your thumb in the air like a thumbs up. Turn it to palm up, other fingers curled. Press the outside first and gently roll to the inside. The opposite for each finger. Make sure they are numbered correctly. Your nerves count. So does the suspect’s. A smudged print is pretty much useless. Palms can be printed, feet, even lips.
After learning to ink and clean fingers, you get to twirl the brush in one hand lightly. Trust me when I tell you , learn to twirl before you have powder on it. Then, dip the brush (for real) into your powder of choice (not too much). Powder of choice is that which you need to dust, and where in the house/scene to print. That’s just part of the job, because trainees practice on their friends, family, co-workers. You’ve got it down, right?
But wait! Before you leave, I have a free special!
Yeah. No, you’re not done. Not even.
Now comes the fun part. You have learned to print an individual walking through your door for a CC license, realtor license, etc. Even a suspect (if they are now in the interrogation and highly suspect… so to speak). Hallelujah.
Now Ms. and Mr. CSU, you’re characters are working a real scene with the printing powder, dusting for latent prints (invisible) and the more *obvious* prints that develop best on porous areas and greasy and dirty hands. Windows, cups, paper. Different powders…
What is print powder made of? Oh, great question. Because there are many types of powder and guidelines on what powder, what to do before the powder, and what to use chemically to enhance a print (to scan when done).
Keep this in mind: A lot of powders (okay, most) require a different, dedicated brush, some black, some white, some feathered. If you are going to use two different types of powders make sure you have a brush for each and a method to keep them separate, not contaminating another. Simple plastic wrap will do fine. Mark them lest you forget which is which.
First and before powder, your scene had better be marked, measured and a numbered placard place next to said print. Then, you photograph … twice. From above and a 45 degree angle, using a 35mm camera and a thumb drive to upload to your computer. Don’t worry about getting extra pictures …. just not of you and your friends at the site.
Done? No. You have your handy field guide to fingerprinting or your cheat sheet… and FBI manual in your kit. What powder to use. After the photos. After all the on site processes take place. Some require sprays or ‘superglue’ on a hot plate in a box… literally sticking to the print (basically this is how it works without all the fancy terms. Got those, too, but processing is another article.).
Do not forget your print tape to lift and a designated placard number. I have two types of tape, but guess what? 3M tape works, not perfect but try it. You place your tape against the appropriate colored background paper and voila! Print in the field is collected–not the process required in the lab. You’ve processed the crime scene for prints. This is just one of the many things that CSU teams go through.
Some officers /CSU use the black, carbon based powder on just about everything, including porous surfaces. Meh, I like to go FBI-style. I have a full kit and every powder available. I have an extensive cheat sheet I made, and FBI handbook. My kit is almost twice as big as the sheriff’s office… and I saw them slathering. White powder is available and useful for windows, dark surfaces such as very dark countertops, chrome, plastic bags. Some are made with aluminum or titanium. Wear your masks for all powder prints, please.
Carbon-based black powder has been the standard until cooler stuff came along. Magnetic powders are my hands down favorite for porous, non-porous surfaces, plastics, Styrofoam and rubber (eyes wide open… don’t forget the tossed condom). For magnetic powder, no brush required, and is easy clean up. Magnetic powder (made from iron) sticks to the oily portions of a fingerprint. It’s truly outstanding. You use a magnet designed for the dropping the powder, and then cleanup… No muss, no fuss, not a lot of left over like carbon powder twirled onto the kitchen walls, plates, cups, wood, counters… ahem.
Special dyes are used for colorants in fluorescing powders to use your Alternative Light Sources with, but take care, these powders can over-process in the field, and yes, the prints are ruined. Got one print, and you just over-processed it? You will be called Dusty the rest of your days. And maybe a kick in the butt. The UV lights require yellow or orange tinted glasses, unless you want cataracts before you reach retirement. Yes, I have two light sources and two sets of glasses… just in case my husband thought one was a flashlight (he did). It’s lost. Do not use fluorescent powders on large surfaces.
Photograph. Occasionally the fluorescing powder requires two people to photograph, and the reason should be obvious. One to shine the light the correct angles and one to get the photos.
Red oxide powders and magnetic oxide powders are used for either dark or light background surfaces, and work well on non-porous surfaces. These are cool because of their versatility. Messy.
Coin box powders. Another fun animal. Use these on metallic surfaces, vending machine, pipes. They require one or two types of ‘smoking’ which are dangerous during lab processing. Leave this to the processing team. By the way, let the processing team work all the prints you’ve collected. Lifting possible ammunition, full or partial prints are best left for the processing team. However, for your fiction, you may get a partial print, thumb and forefinger prints that need special care. You only get one chance.
Brushes: using your feather brush, (different that your carbon based and magnetic brushes). These do well on countertops, wood, and household woodwork (like unpainted doorjambs, decks and lightly painted wood).
Uneven surfaces suck. But that’s where that handy dandy 35mm comes in after you’ve brushed or dropped the right powder. Sometimes they can be processed well with little or no warp.
I haven’t invested in spray powder but the powder spray covers the print more accurately and evenly. It doesn’t replace your powder, but is another cool tool for your kit. If you’re dipping too much powder onto your brush, it’s a mess and your print will be well, useless. That’s when the spray comes in handy.
What about wet surfaces? You see a print in condensation or a wet counter. Use a small particle reagent. This is a liquid powder, sprayed onto the print and the reagent will stick to the print.
The latest powder I do not have are supernano powders made with very fine silica that according to processors, improve print demarcation by 30%. They are processed differently, with lasers. These pick up so much more information than any other print powder that you will want it. Me, too.
My next article will be on processing, including superglue… For now, get an ink pad, print paper (or your home ink pad, regular paper) and start twirling that brush with a bit of powder or dropping a wee clump of magnetic powder to play with. I recommend aprons, gloves and never past your bedtime.
Well, boys and girls, we got a lotta work to do in coming days, weeks, months.
Why is this in Romance tags? Because … what if your characters are in love but er, don’t know it? Bicker?
If you know of more printing techniques and / or glaring errors, that I have not covered, errors, do give me a comment on my website blog. I’ll hit up the stores for more to put in my kit, correct my work and give you the credit. 🙂
Wow. What a list there.
The list may go on.
As I write, I look for those readers/writers for critiquing, and Beta before I send to editor. And then … launch (that does not mean, ‘to the moon, Alice, to the moon!’)
Writing is my job.
Critiquing is for … critique-ers – i.e. committed folks offering to suggest better sentence structure, grammar, and spelling, big plot holes. Pronouns with each sentence … i.e. I, I, I, or she, she, she … confusing statements, things slowing the plot down.
Beta readers are those committed folks who reads/swap novels to beta (or critique), and look for interest, pacing, plot holes and words like, ‘I would buy this.’ Or … ‘this sucks, start over, dump it,’ etc.
Not the soul-sucking critiques/betas that pulverize the soul of the writer/author. Generally, in one’s genre or close to … or willing to suspend belief enough to read the work (and if you swap with me, I would do the same). But, honest. Above all honest and respectful. I have had the bashers, some with good points; good grief, leave the mean crap out. Not cool.
Then the launch. Meaning … I am now ready to sell that work. Add the novel to social media. All of the above willing to be part of it. Easy job. Post to your Twitter, Facebook, or whatever your favorite social media site(s).
When I review a book, launched, I hit all my sites. I give stars (honest) on Amazon (no stars if it requires work, at which time I send the author a note … this needs work, want another review?). I am a dedicated critique -er, Beta, and launcher, ARC reader and reviewer. It is what authors & readers do.
If you are interested in a dedicated swap, critique, beta, launch, these are free copies/swaps. I post via email to a group I dedicate, both readers only, writers only, both. And swapping novels. I have two more Betabook spots that are free. On my beta site I send chapters at a time since my current work is still … in the works.
Let me know if you are interested. Send me that email, and I’ll answer and add you to my list of readers etc.,.
I love sharing my process. It’s kinda fun. The how-to’s of what I do to plot/pants/polish a manuscript (rewrite…). Takes me forever. But, that is part of ‘my’ process. I’ve shared some of my ideas on process before, but, I am not an expert. Be careful. Why?
Experts are frequently authors. They’ve done well. Experts are all over the place. I Googled the findings of experts and writers of experts were available. Over … three … million. Yikes!
Just like ‘too many cooks spoil the broth…’ whether webinars, conferences, books, coaches, too many experts can spoil not just your process or plot, first lines… they can halt your progress. You become depressed, drink yourself into oblivion, live on the streets… That maybe overstating your situation, but…
You are now too paralyzed to write for fear of breaking the rules, regulations. Your process is decimated, the manuscript is cooked to death and your love for creative writing is gone. Gone, I tell you, gone. Might as well be a ‘Kill Bill’ extra where volunteers set themselves to die (for real).
You’ve buried the manuscript. Taken up skydiving. Without the parachute.
Pfft. Yes, there are great resources you should avail yourselves of, but watch where you step. You pay for expert classes, books, ad nauseum. The pile of money you spend may well be a poop full of crap. If you find yourself unable to follow your plot today, or your manuscript is simmering for those two weeks, read. This is true advice. Not from me, but a bazillion writers. That many writers who say the brief statement, ‘If you are not reading, you are not writing.’
I mean, read fiction. The genre you love, the genre you don’t. Immerse yourself in books that are clean, spotless, and I don’t mean the edit. I am talking about voice. Your voice. I hate horror. But I love Stephen King’s writing. Flawless. Characters that make a novel scarier. Oh, please, do not watch movies based on the book. You will never get a real voice, inner thoughts, emotions as actions.
Now the destruction begins. Have you killed your darlings? Fixed plot holes? Made characters three dimensional? You are ready for your critique group. They will find more.
And you are allowed to weep. The important aspect is ‘listen to your critique group’. Sweep, dust, clean the mangled manuscript, and get your beta group. Whatever you do, do not use friends, family as readers. They don’t want to offend you. Allow the attacks. You’ll be stronger for the battle. Again, listen to your beta group.
Everything is subjective, in the eyes of the groups that read your work and in the opinions of the experts. Are you satisfied? Did the changes help?
I keep copies of what I have cut, one never knows when that scene will be pertinent to the next novel. A bit OCD I suppose, I keep every copy from a daily write in a file. Because the previous scenes/language/character might have been better than what you pen right now. Yeah, Sherlock. Keep it safe.
So there you have it. Again, my process. Listen, or listen not. It has meaning for me, perhaps not for you. But for cryin’ out loud, do not … do not run to everyone who calls themselves an expert.
Don’t drink the poison, and please, don’t sign this.
via New Book!
I found Philip Larson on Scribophile this morning. After a long hiatus from the site, I found his review of my chapter 1 of Nobody Girl. Great catches, all. I must go back and edit …
So… curious chick that I am, I went to his Scribophile menu page … and found Benteen Blowup.
This is so up my reading alley. Christian, countryside, cultural crime and corrupt cops and cover up (a few too many alliterations?), I read the description, hit ‘add,’ … and Bob’s your uncle, it’s on my list to buy.
Benteen Blowup is representative of today’s racism against Native Americans, the only demographic that lacks a database of missing First Nation women across the country. Yet, it is set in 1959, when a young reporter takes on an investigative spiral into the seamy gut of across-the-board racism.
How he reports two separate cases may determine his life … or death.
They are not forgotten.
Every day I hear/see a new diet/health book on television.
*Follow my program, my book, my recipes and you can lose 150 pounds in less than six months! In less than one month!*
No, dear. You will be in the hospital. Or dead. Order premade? How will you know how to cook when it’s done? What about ‘lose the belly fat diet?’ Good grief. Fat is fat is fat.
And today I heard about another one. Yes. The woman made two dishes on the show (er, showed one, and everything prepped for the ‘simple’ sandwich).
First, ‘Detoxifying isn’t hard.’ She launched into the explanation. Sounded difficult. Then, onto the easy prep of the sandwich. Time passed. These were ‘easy’ (and all the difficult work already done). Not one ingredient was anything I would eat, nor inexpensive. All recipes just 500 calories. Wow. Amazing.
Quick question: what if your dietary needs to lose weight are 1200 calories? Unless you are exercising your butt off to the tune of 600 calories you will gain weight. That nets you a loss of a total 100 calories. What if you want side dishes? Dessert? You can’t have any.
What do you have to lose? Time, money, at the very least. You can however, keep your butter in spades. But no sugar. Fewer carbs. Where have we hear this before? Lose foods you love, get foods that go straight to your arteries. No, thanks. Been there with several popular diets.
But, but, what about the blood type? The Creation diets (they contradict one another, by the way)? The hunter gatherer diet? The steak and grapefruit diet? The zone? The Beach? Atkins? Um, no.
Am I shamefully hawking my book? Yes and no. I will not give up taste and balance for sheer bunk. Well, not any longer. I won’t starve through detoxifying. I will not give up pizza. I will not give up my comfort foods. I will not spend a thousand dollars looking for bizarre ingredients. Most of my meals are ‘after a day of work,’ easy. Some are ‘make it on your day off. You will thank me. Inexpensive. You get three meals and two snacks (dessert). Might you have to decrease sugar, or gluten? Sure. Easy. Are you a vegetarian? Easy. Do you like black beans instead of kidney beans? C’mon. Use them. Do you want it spicy? Go for it. I have a few recipes posted in my blogs. Try them. Fiddle with them.
Then, click the link on the home page. My cookbook is small but mighty. And as Amazon removes stars and reviews (they do this on purpose, they don’t have to pay smaller authors royalties), please leave one. Oh, and I lost 90 pounds, no sleep apnea, and cholesterol down 60 points. This took me 11 months to get into a healthy goal. Patience is key. Another few months and I was there. 125 pounds. This, eating carbs, protein, fats. Desserts. No special ‘sugars.’ And maintaining, because I like food. That was 2004. Do I waiver? Sure, from time to time. Then I stand up, dust myself off, and continue the right path.
Fabulous Foods: Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. Click link below. Not a fad diet. This is it: https://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Foods-Enjoying-Healthy-Comfort/dp/1496053621/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521069007&sr=1-1&keywords=cynthia+mahoney+fnp
Make Self-Publishing Mighty – Setting Goals
Steps to publishing have many different routes, including (yay!) self-publishing. These free the writer from the constraints of the traditional route. I point to the length of time one may wait for agents/traditional houses to accept a novel. Not all (many) make it through slush pile(s). Indie is self-publishing peppered with a light to traditional publishing taste, except… different.
The cavalry has arrived. No, really. The cavalry is here and self -publishing, after several years, is gaining popularity. Again, yay! That cavalry is you. So this is a sexist image, but… okay, I think he’s hot.
How does one enter the foray of fast growing market? As you read, don’t lose heart. It seems overwhelming for first time self-publishers. Self-publishing is a funny animal. It has ups. Then… downs. The market waxes and wanes.
These are the goals you must have to follow through. You are starting a business, and floundering around ends in ‘dead fish’ fodder.
While tempted to throw your first draft to a self-publishing outfit, don’t, have a cup of coffee. Do not pay an agent or publishing house unless you are wealthy (or a politician). Do you want to spend your hard-earned money for ‘I’m published’ gleam in your eye? The real sparkle is in their eyes: the scratch in your pocket. Oh, get your mind out of that gutter. Money.
Here it is:
You’ve completed the manuscript. That is an endeavor. And a half.
Determine your budget for every step of this endeavor listed. I cannot stress this enough. Encourage an elephant to sit on you before you write checks. Have a look around for self-publishing groups.
What do you want to sell, e-books only? Consider Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos Or both e-books and paperback? I recommend both, but in the end, this is up to you. E-books are far less expensive but bring fewer royalties (though I have heard some great success stories). Smashwords gives you about 70-85% of royalties… though you pay 35 cents per book sold. This royalty number is awesome. You keep copyright, and can participate in other parts of the program. Well worth the look. Your biggest obstacle with ebooks is the dearth of readers who are aghast at any work requiring more than 99 cents.
Set a time goal. Six months before your novel is ready for printing, start your online advertising. Tell your friends. Get the word out. You are Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Pick one.
Plan a marketing program. Let’s talk cost. Squish your toes in social media. Make it sexy. If you don’t have a website, fer cryin’ out loud, get one. WordPress blogs are free. Their websites cha-ching your pocket from one hundred to five thousand dollars. A domain name will cost from ten dollars to one hundred. Go Daddy and others will offer for a fee, SEO (search engine optimization) to improve visibility.
Some custom websites charge ten times that amount.
Facebook fan page. Love this. If you want advertising on your Facebook fan page advertising costs, but nominal. Twitter is free. With WordPress blog free, you can post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter… you get the idea. You can find free or pay for website services. I went cheap. As in, starving-artist-free: http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan a DIY site.
ISBN number. You must have one for your novel. That’s the little barcode on the back so you get paid. CreateSpace offers one free, however it remains with them … forever. You can also purchase one for one hundred dollars or more.
Get your murder hat on. Why do I mention this here in your goals? You want your book to sell I suspect. So, slash those scenes like Dexter in a bad mood, those that don’t push the plot along. Some self-publishing businesses will not pass three-hundred-eighty pages. Paying for editors is not cheap. Pretend for a second your novel is five hundred pages. You want to pay said editor a zillion buckaroos for pages to be removed, and edited… again? How do you spell redrum? Editors often charge thirty to forty dollars per hour. Your team of readers/critique buds can help with murder. One with the vase. One with the rug. One with the shovel.
The cover. I know you already have a cover in mind. Now find an artist/photographer to design, or look at stock photos, you can pay a lot or minimal. On my website, I have stock images I want on my new works. Some folks have luck with fivver, a less-expensive method. Fivver is a conglomeration of people who will work in five-dollar increments. Ask your Facebook fans which cover mock-up they like best.
CreateSpace offers free front/back and spine flaps with limited covers, though you can upload your own. When they create a cover for you, now you are looking at over three hundred dollars. I changed one book’s title and cover three times… that’s a buncha clams if you switch from one picture or another through custom artists. Keep that in mind. This was my second free cover (which I liked), another DIY on CreateSpace. The Big However… upon beginning the first chapter as a reader, I realized my fiction (and title) didn’t fit the cover—the formatting was fine. Don’t bother looking for it, the cover never moved passed the proofing stage. Sigh. Looks lovely, though. Keeping it for my next book.
CreateSpace is an easy platform that offers eBooks and paperback. They do the hard work such as bookbinding. They will gently place your work on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and it’s ready. Amazon Publishing is not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but this is their site: https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/work-with-us .
Preview your work online. Order five book drafts if in paperback. Most self-publishing requires a minimum. CreateSpace requires five. When you receive the box, shout with glee, review it, and bust out the champagne (or beverage of choice). I have declined some first copies and reformatted. No they don’t give you your money back. Rats. Each print-on-demand book through CreateSpace costs three dollars and ten cents. Minus shipping and handling.
Social media blitz and marketing. Put pictures of the books, a box of books in fact, onto every social media site you have. Plug to your friends, and now, family (they don’t count early on). Take the box you’ve ordered to local bookstores. Go to signings wherever you can find them. Authors Innovative Marketing on Facebook is chockfull of ideas for authors. Post your novel on Goodreads. Don’t forget! Put a PayPal button click on your website, and your Facebook fan page-
Before you think the endeavor is beyond you, it’s not. Royalties may be great: but read the contract with a jaundiced eye. Not … really jaundiced, but … Consider the amount you will pay for twenty-five books, print-on-demand. Three-dollars per book. Consider shipping/handling and your profit and loss.
So check around. Self-publishing sites that are true self-publishing sites are tough to find. Vanity and boutique presses, shrouded vaguely, tell you the cost for purchasing a package and then sink their teeth in your pocketbook like Monty Python’s savage attack bunny… “Run away, run away!”
If you are interested in Indie publishing, the larger Indies (for independent, not East Indian) pay well. And do not make fun. I thought that’s what Indie meant… hey, it was a long time ago, yeesh.
This is Diggypod. I don’t consider these folks self-publish but you may get some ideas: https://www.diggypod.com/self-publishing/companies/
Here is CreateSpace, and I do recommend taking a look: https://www.createspace.com/
Post your books on https://www.goodreads.com/
And … a list of the top Indie publishers: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/73281-fast-growing-independent-publishers-2017.html
Here you have it. Goals for your journey to self-publishing.
Giving a shout out to WritersDetective Q&A on Facebook (and Twitter). Received through their email a surprise mention to the group regarding forensic science, and I certainly hope to live up to the status!
I also finished a novel that has nothing (or very little) to do with romance or faith– a gritty (violence and colorful language) military and medical (kinda gory) based on a true happening.
So, if you have any fun and interesting questions for me, find me at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaire1/ or here and I will research what I don’t know, or give you info on what I do know.
This is what I picture the finished product to look like (the book not the disaster…)
. . yes, still editing Forget Me Not . . . and trying to decide if I should change the title.
Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis — refers to a specific character…
OR . . . should I change it to Nobody Girl — the victim?
Let me know!
You can also give me thoughts at c.mahoney.fnp@gmail,com
I AM PRAYING FOR YOU. And in a moment, going to your amazon site.
Blessings, hope, prayers, miracles for you I pray.
I feel compelled to share this ministry. No matter one’s status of faith, or none, it’s imperative to recognize the disaster in this region, and the compassion we need to pray, share, and support. Love Uganda Foundation runs an orphanage, clinic, outreach. They are hard pressed to reach all those in need. Please take time to read this.
Josh Kisakye McMillan shared this post on Facebook.
“There is a great need to reach out to the most vulnerable people of Uganda, which category includes orphans and widows in the furthest of the remote areas of Uganda characterized by shortage of water, HIV/AIDS, school dropouts due to early pregnancies, poverty, violence against women etc.
2016, we visited two regions Gulu in July and 2017 Kabale in August and we had an experience of a tough living of the people accompanied by high poverty levels. Many school-going girls had to drop out of school due to lack of pads, early child marriages among many girls due to lack of sensitization and cultural constraints thus early pregnancies, growing HIV infection rates due to low sensitization as well ignorance among the people, high levels of poverty which has affected the standard of living of the people . With us, we afforded to donate a few materials to the widows which included soap, rice, flour, clothes, shoes, as well conducted a workshop where widows were equipped and empowered in various skills that included sowing, hygiene.
On average, every widow in Gulu and Kabale looks after 8 to 10 children after the deaths of their husbands in the recent LRA rebel war, which situation today has left many of these ladies single-mothers. This is a burden as they have to clothe, feed, accommodate, educate and provide for the medical bills of their families. There are unsafe and unclean water supplies currently in the community. Being that a big part of the region is dry, the few available water sources are located far away from the communities where people stay. Therefore children have to travel long distances on foot approximately 600 meters searching for water. The children must then return back home on foot which poses a great risk to their physical safety. Most of the shelters in these areas are grass-thatched thus prone to catching fires during the scotching heat season, in cases of conflicts, they are easily burnt, thus leaves many shelter-less.
On interaction with the widows, many prefer a modern house with iron roof sheets.
Additionally, HIV/AIDS epidemic is at a high rampancy as a result of rape among young girls during the LRA bush war. Accompanied with ignorance, this has led to easy spread of the
Disease among people. Cultural beliefs where a woman can be remarried to the brother of the deceased, has contributed greatly to the high rates in HIV infection. Child neglect associated with early child marriages. Many of these children have missed out on school and other basic needs of life.
Basing on the above challenges, there is a great need to extend a hand to such unfortunate people and help save a life. Love Uganda Foundation (LUF) is offering to provide for both the physical, social and spiritual needs of these people and this is to be achieved through Love Activity programs and mission.
Love Activity project is a life-saving mission that is aimed at restoring hope among the vulnerable people in different regions of Uganda rough donating basic materials like food stuffs, scholastic materials, clothing, shoes, medications etc.
Our goal is to partner as well engage the community in this exciting activity, giving a chance to everyone to donate in every way possible.
The next mission is scheduled for 2nd -7th April 2018, as an opportunity to restore hope to the vulnerable people of Bugiri Busoga. It will offer an avenue of sharing the love of God with the community members through meeting their needs.
Join and be part of changing and transforming a life of a community.
Any donation rendered will be highly appreciated.”
With a transformed community, we can achieve a greater nation.
December 3, 2017
Goodness. I disappeared for some time. YEP. I’ve stuck my nose into editing/rewriting/editing/rewriting Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis. In this heinous process, I MEAN, wonderful process … yeesh, I realize the title is no longer relevant to my story. The protagonist’s obstacle has changed. That’s ’cause the ‘original’ antagonist is different …
So, I am fiddling with some new ideas. If you have any suggestions do let me know. Thus far my favorite is The Nobody Girl. Or, simply Nobody Girl.
It’s done. Forget Me Not in paper form has been edited, reworked. Champagne? Maybe. Maybe not. Gives me a headache. So Sparkling Apple Cider works. Or anything chocolate-y.
If you’ve read my previous posts on this subject, you’ll know that I am dumbfounded with the ease of filling plot holes, rewording, and slashing unimportant scenes.
So.. uh, what I said. It isn’t a bad idea. I will do this for future works. But I’ll need an industrial-sized paper hole puncher, and bigger three ring binders…
Now it’s in a binder (a bit tight), but will be easier to fiddle with while I lovingly place my changes onto the computer version. I only wonder, how long will that process take?
While I kick back, eat a slice of cake, it’s time to head to the books I have put aside.
Claire O’Sullivan via Author Laura Aranda
I hope you visit Laura Aranda’s website. Pushing Back the Darkness is a fiction about a horrible truth across the globe, human trafficking. It’s not new, it doesn’t always end in a cage or basement, and many are never free. You may see human sex slaves or slaves of labor in the grocery store, the neighborhood. They look just like your kids.
I have this book on my list of faith based fictions to read, based on our fallen world.
Of course, I almost had a spit fit when I read the main character’s name…
Sure, go ahead. Make fun. I screamed after printing the manuscript. What a horrible idea! I said…
Okay, so, maybe… just a bit… I may have changed my mind.
Not entirely. But. The good news is, I can flip back and forth between page, plop sticky notes on what I perceive to be plot holes, or in need of plot thickeners…
Pull out red pen … reword some Phuzzy Phrases. Scenes that fizzle. Sentences that suck. Aren’t needed. Don’t push the plot along. Hasta Lumbago, paragraph of doom, palabras de muerte (Yes, lumbago intended…).
Then when my inner Arnold is done, I’ll go back and plug the puppy into the eReader. Then plop it into a Beta group. Then, off to an editor, or grammar Nazi … I know a few…
Writing is rewriting. Then, some more rewriting. And … repeat.
Something outstanding in the mix happened. That whole ‘are you actually working…?’ question mark that occasionally crosses my husband’s face contorted into a Holy * moment. Nonchalantly, I said … this is what continues on and on until each. word. fits.
So for kicks and giggles, I pulled out different colored pens, markers and marked all over it, and now he really is impressed with the amount of work. I have just now become the Jason Bourne of dedication.
Yay, me. Off to the salt mines…
Alright. I began my experiment on printing up the manuscript to edit.
Who did this to me?
<banshee scream commences>
Okay, so it isn’t a bad idea. It’s a HORRIBLE idea. Try not to succumb to the off-beat suggestions that sound good … until you do it.
Granted, I am a paperback reader, not Kindle etc reader. But. Editing. In. This. Form. Sucks.
Have you heard this news yet?
Have you heard word one from North Korea? I didn’t, a relative gave me the information.
HOLY CRAP. This could be the disaster of disasters, bigger than Fukushima and Chernobyl combined.
As North Korea’s esteemed dictator began using Mt. Mantap (mantrap?), it’s weakened to the point of collapse, killing 200. UM, was said dictator in the mountain or near enough to get radiation sickness to the point of death? Why no word from him for over a week?
Now, not only China fears the affects, but this could easily affect HALF THE WORLD.
Not to mention our oceans. Fish (including the salmon that travel into the fresh waters), dolphins, bottom dwellers, sharks, name something. Including our birds that feed on them. And those of us, especially the West Coast … who are blithely unaware of the danger and continue to eat already affected by Fukushima waters.
Japan, appropriately, freaking out.
Where are the news outlets? Talking politics, as usual.
I’m an author, not a scientist or politician. I am not in favor of running after politics on my blog. But. This. Is. Important.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punggye-ri_Nuclear_Test_Site_tunnel_collapse – where you can find the news starting to report it.
We need heroes. I start with Animal Mother (okay so he’s older and this isn’t FMJ), not diplomacy.
I mentioned yesterday how impressive The Bonus Pool was by Dale Amidei, and I was only halfway through. Well, I finished it around 1 a.m. or so, and it really is that good.
His writing is enough to make many of us, especially newbies, stumble, stop, and wonder just what the heck are we thinking, trying to write? Phttp. Bears repeating. It is that good. Kinda envious here. No, that’s not right. Freakin’ envious.
I think all of my fingernails are much shorter. <Looks> Yep.
Modern day espionage meets Boone, a woman searching. Add intrigue, angst, assassins, and a lot of characters well written, faith, and folly.
The thread doesn’t fall apart. The plot is insanely realistic. Pretty sure Dale was a spy in his lifetime…
I am glad I have both copies in paperback. Why? ‘Cause these are worth reading again, especially during the zombie apocalypse. Or maybe, just tomorrow.
Dale is an Indie author. Give him a worthy review, because if they had stars higher than five, I’d hit the top.
Great writing. Kinda hatin’ on ya, Dale. PHTTP.
My works are not filled with sex scenes or erotica. On purpose. Yep, I know sex sells, but I would rather NOT sell at all than pander to the worldly view of voyeurism. Image, well maybe not that ‘cute,’ but you get the idea.
Passion is different. Fighting the battle of not falling into sex is a battle (a subplot) but the main plot is that which grabs. I have read good writing and must skip the erotic scenes because it’s simply a turn-off.
My main characters are flawed, angry, worldly, physically flawed, and emotionally damaged. Once they accept Christ, they backslide. Are we perfect? St. Paul bemoaned his imperfections. At the end of his life he says, ‘I fought the fight, I ran the race’ … what in heaven’s name could that possibly mean? It’s an easy thing to accept grace. It’s a battle to walk, even pray or read the Bible.
I read/write Christian suspense/romance. I want readers to know the plot and the subplot of walking the talk of faith, stumbling, battling the worldly enemy as well as the physical enemy. Asking for help understanding Scripture. It ‘is’ realistic. It is attainable in real life. Using sex to sell is an easy copout.
What do you think?
Hi friends of the written word. And food. Etc.
I was invited for an interview regarding my (healthy) cookbook on an internet based radio show, one I’ve never been on.
PR is PR. Right? It is exposure, and I will be donating a portion of my proceeds to disabled vets.
The radio show is Republic News Radio 101 and you can tune in here: http://tunein.com/station/?StationId=287184
It begins at 9 PM EST and I will also be chit-chatting about my fiction, my website and how to purchase the cookbook.
Hope to see you there! Well, with internet vibes ….
Here is the link to my website because I KNOW you’ll want the cookbook… http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan
Just click on the URL next to Fabulous Foods. After Oct. 31, click on the book.. it’s confusing yes. I know.
October 15, 2017
Well, okay. Not five pots. Maybe a cup or two.
This morning I had a fire in the wood stove. Yes, it was that cold, unless you’re a polar bear. Or you have an overactive thyroid…
Now I have a screen (big TV screen) running my ‘tropical island paradise.’ This could be good. Or bad. I am sooooo calm, sleeping on the beach (aka couch) sounds like a great idea. This is the perfect setting for my characters to snooze in, too. Is there a ‘what the heck?’ music track? Anyone else write to music?
I am not done reading a thriller by Dale Amidei, Absinthe and Chocolate. But I am close. Perhaps that’s the reason I need a senior nap. Up too late, once again.
I have a process, like all authors. I come up with an idea, work a plot out of it (sometimes that whole concept crashes big time), get a handful of characters, and head to NanoWrimo.
This is my first year since 2012 where I will be in absenscia I am in the rewrite process of all but one. Of course I try to work on one at a time… Then there’s the rock, hammer, scissors. Sometimes all at the same time.
What’s your process?
For me, I always have to work on the characters. Are they flatter than a pancake? It’s easier to develop biological weapons from dust than to rewrite a character meh to great.
That’s where I am at with Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis ( compost was an appropriate term a bit ago). I had to write in a love interest’s point of view. Otherwise it looked more like 50 Shades without the sex scenes. Meh.
Ah, keep your shirt on.
I removed the first three chapters of How to Steal a Romance … see how it works? A wee bit for fun…
Then, addiction strikes.
It will be published, and hopefully within my – and your lifetime, and hope that addiction sticks …. 🙂
Well, I can’t speak to her magical, mysterious, curious powers. Or her work out (if she does), but I can tell you about a balanced diet.
OH wait. I think I have, however, I have made ordering ridiculously simple. You can click on it here, or on my website, facebook page OR on twitter.
My promos for the paperback and KDP have disappeared.
PHTTP, however, if you love me, even a little … you might order from this URL: https://www.createspace.com/4686721 … OK fine. You don’t have to love me.
But if you LOVE food, good food, healthy food, easy-to-make and great for newbies, this cookbook is for YOU.
I can guarantee you will like the recipes. Like PIZZA.
That is what said.
And STICKY ROLLS. Again, not a mistake.
Adapt any recipe to YOUR diet style (vegetarian, vegan, meat-lovers, gluten free, lactose free, sugar free, ADA, AHA, etc), add/subtract spices, meats, and other goodies, and you have the workings of food for life.
Food should be fun. Easy, affordable, taste great, for any cook, any age — and any level.
Fabulous Foods, Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods … because, besides being Wonder Woman, we still want to have our cake and eat it, too.
My link is different these days… okay, today. But if you want to see reviews from others, please check out the KDP version, and the other versions under Cynthia Mahoney FNP. Don’t forget, puhleeez review.
If you keep up with my website, you may think you have arrived on the wrong page. Well as the weather cools down, I am looking for tropical. I may also check into a good fireplace video that I can upload. I am not even CLOSE to being done. But, if you like the ocean … a margarita… come on by.
Have you ever been without your computer for days on end? What a traumatic experience for me! ha ha.
I had a notebook, however. A pen. And the time and frustration to get my writing in. So I fiddled with the rewrite for Forget Me Not (the novel I have been avoiding like the black death — that’s the plague for those who’ve never heard of it, or in the words of Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!”). Yes, and it was a comedy. Forget Me Not is now in the ‘typing’ stage of rewrite/edit.
Then because I didn’t have enough to do, I started the third in the Whiskey River Series (1. How to Steal a Romance and 2. Glass Slipper), working title, Murder in the Mist.
I read a blog that said writers shouldn’t blog… Then read a blog that said writers should plot/plan (basically, totally pants it). Also read a blog that proclaimed that blogging and social media had nothing to do with writing and to eschew it.
Well, says I, snappy writing in social media is like a snappy ad, or PSA (public service announcement), and economy of words = writing, editing, rewriting. Try twitter. A fifteen word pitch for your novel. Get onto Facebook, etc., and work over your 85 word back flap on a writers group. Get feedback. When you hit a dry moment, work on a blog to keep your friends/ family/ fans up-to-date.
And try to tell the authors who write online for a living that it’s not real. Yeah, good luck telling an author online that.
Okay, all writers. Do me a huge favor. You are not a writer, you are not an aspiring writer. You are not hoping to be a writer. You are not ‘trying’ to get a book published or agented. And you are not trying to be a paid author ‘some day.’ To me, that says you are not reaching high enough. A writer is a fiddler of words on occasion, like how I used to write poetry (which was bad). An author is one who seeks to be a pro. If you get paid or not, you are an author. Like the saying goes, you might be an author if you say writing is your job/career, not the one you actually get paid for…
One last favor: Support other authors. Follow their blogs, newsletters and websites. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook. Do NOT drag them down. Never, ever stamp out even a flickering flame. All it takes is one jealous, mean-spirited review to destroy the confidence the new author has, and their possible Really Great Novel may be shot down in flames. I am not saying be dishonest. I am saying, be respectful. Our work is always part of us, remember that, for yourself as well.
If you buy a book … please review it. If it came in bad shape or you don’t like the genre, don’t give it a one star… ! Gimme a break. If you spot some spelling and grammar problems, but you like the content well enough (despite that you ‘wouldn’t have written it like that’), check your ego at the door before you read, and remember, some editors and publishers are actually human and make a mistake…
Whatever you do, write gold, and give gold. You are never going to be a Stephen King, no matter your genre. Keep that in mind.
(I have no idea where I plagiarized that pic, but it was from SomeeCards ha, ha)
Short, sweet, to the point. Be safe from east to west, north to south. More hurricanes on the way. Please give this information to all you know out there, in another path!
YES, this may very well offend some of you. Well, darn. But it needs to be said, shared, because we do not live forever.
I hear all the time these are the End Times. Feels like it. But… they said that every age. Crazy people actually name the day and time. Maybe not insane, just misled, overly hopeful, not to mention, arrogant. Sadly, this causes such disappointment in those who believe that, they fall away. Others mock, rightly so.
Today is a come to Jesus moment. In actuality. Not because of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, economic distress, crazy plagues.. okay. Maybe a bit. It’s throughout the Torah. The Bible. Most folks say Jesus was a Christian. Not. He was 100% Jewish. Born in Bethlehem. Others believe He wrote the Gospels. Not. He taught everything from the Torah. Every. Last. Word.
Which brings me to the point. Jesus freaked everyone out. First, he told everyone they had to be perfect, better than the Pharisees. Then, He claimed to be God. OH the elite religious went nuts!
Can God become man? That’s sorta like asking how many angels can dance on the end of a pin. Or, can He create a rock so big He can’t move it… The Torah says nothing is impossible for God. So then. He is the only perfect man, not a shell with God inside, but fully man, fully human. Gave himself, not ‘one for the team.’ Not (as the Pope says) just be good enough…(works), but Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah gave us, covered us with His sacrificial Passover blood of the perfect lamb. Freeing us.
There is no other religion that frees us from our wrongs (sin) with the one time sacrifice for us on the Cross. Every other religion relies on works. Work hard enough to be good to make it.
Here’s an analogy. The best swimmer in all of the world stands on the beach with you and a 99 pound weakling. Your goal? Hawaii. Everyone jumps in. Yet, will anyone make it? NO. You and your swimming buddies will have to dodge the sharks, the cold, the lack of food. The desire to get to Hawaii desperately, hoping, not sure. Eventually realizing they need a ship to save them. Take them to Hawaii.
That is all of us. We all fall short of the glory of God. What does that mean? We don’t got no chance, because we don’t have a clue, nor the capability.
A lot of folks say it’s crazy. How can a Trinity exist? Oh, really this is so simple a child can understand. From my point of view.
Pretend for a moment you have never read the Bible. Not even Genesis. But in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, He said… let us make man in our image (man is also woman…). OUR. Let’s go on.
Angels cannot be God(s). There is only ONE God, not many. So, if One God is US, what does that mean? First, let me start here. I ask you, you want an egg? You say, sure… I say, which part? The yolk? The white? The shell?
So what’s with the egg? The yolk is ‘like’ the Father. The white is ‘like’ the Holy Spirit. The shell is ‘like’ Jesus, and the shell holds all of the egg together, the fullness of the egg when I show it to you. HMM. Because the Bible says Jesus was with God in the beginning, and then … lived among us, the fullness of God, His very image. As an aside, some believe Satan was his bro. Ah, no. A fallen angel. Became the devil.
Let’s move on. He said in Genesis, let us make man in our image. Take the egg concept. Our most inner soul or spirit was created to be an image of the Father. Our brain is our mind, in the image of the Holy Spirit. And our body is what you and I see … yet without all three, we aren’t there. That may not be perfect but it is the best I can do.
So … why do we need a Savior? Well, there’s that whole apple (persimmon tee hee?) debacle. Woman wasn’t standing there all alone. Mmm, mmm. Adam stood right next to her. They didn’t die… but they were booted from the garden and their spirit died, laid dormant, and that has passed onto us.
The Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt was a picture of the future. The blood of a perfect lamb on the doors of those who believed. They were saved. The death of Christ was on the day of Preparation for the Passover. Sunday, He was alive. Death and the law nailed to the Cross.
My final point. We don’t know anything about the date or time. We recognize only the signs. We don’t know if we will live through tomorrow. We don’t know if our friends or family know. Time is short because our years are limited. So.. if you don’t know, if you don’t believe, here’s the short version:
1. Admit you believe in yourself as a god (idolatry, which is a sin), that you have lied even once … or stolen … even a pen … have lusted … wanted someone, something not yours … have hated/murdered (war doesn’t count, different Hebrew word). Have not loved your neighbor as yourself (the Golden Rule). Have not respected your parents… !
2. Believe that only Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the only way to saving you from your sin.
3. Confess with your mouth (speak it out loud!) that Jesus (only) and believe in your heart (not lip service) that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved. This is NOT by works. It is by FAITH – the belief in what we cannot see that He gives you through GRACE, so no one can boast.
Then, grab a Bible. Recognize that mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. This is your salvation.
Want some verses to prove that Israel is the land of the Jews, that in the Torah Jesus is there? Where in the NT Jesus is the only likeness of God Ask me. Get into a good church. Ask me. There are some that lose sight. Blind leading the blind. Get a Bible, not one specific to a religion. You can ask me that, too. Want to know where to start? Ask me that one, too!
I am praying for those in Texas who have lost family members and homes. Beyond that, I won’t politicize or make any offensive statements, because neither are deserved.
That being said, Texans are a tough bunch. Cowboys rustling cattle to higher ground through streets. CajunNavy from Texas and LA to the rescue in boats amidst bullets from looters. Everyone and their bass boat rescuing folks (saying to wives or husbands, see it WAS a good purchase! Search and Rescue!). Some putting up tents on their roof -‘we got this-‘
We’ve been through tough times, and the tough come to the rescue. New York and 9/11. Montana, Wyoming. Well, pretty much all the time. LA through every hurricane thrown at them. Oregon during each fire season or flood, mountain rescues and sea rescues. The Revolutionary War. The Civil War. WWII. Every war we’ve ever fought, with soldiers from all states. Not to mention the (good, non-corrupt, violent) cops, and the majority are good. Firefighters.
Citizens putting themselves out there to brave whatever elements to save children, adults, elderly, animals from distress or death.
I’ve missed much. I can’t hit every point, but am willing to hear from anyone who has a hero story (not divisive political, please).
People have come from every corner of the nation to help, and that is America, and many who sacrifice time, money and safety to help other nations is crisis.
Right now, our eyes are on Texas and Louisiana. We need also to look at the plight in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong.
In the meantime, I’m waiting for the floodwaters to cease and things open up. I need to try a Whataburger. At least once.
Got the edits done.
Sent back to agent.
Two days later … email from agent.
HEY, that cannot be good! I didn’t want to open it. I mean. Have you ever watched courtroom shows? Bad news comes quick.
I checked all my other email, first. I chewed a nail. Maybe five. Clicked on the email, then shut my eyes. Opened one. Then the other. Took a deep breath.
OH. He got the manuscript. In about a month + I will hear back.
WHEW and … oh, piffle. Another wait. It is what it is, and at least it wasn’t: “We hate this! Go away!”
August 19, 2017
I finished Grey Areas the Saga this evening. I have to say, some spectacular writing you won’t want to miss if you like thrillers, romance, comedy, drama. I had all four books (novellas) at once, so I wouldn’t have to stop. I was thrilled to read this work. Superglued to my chair.
If I wasn’t such an old lady, I think I would have finished all four in 2 days. As it was, it took me 3.
Four plots (mixed together) in one book, the characters really well fleshed out — if you are yelling at the characters, you know they are real. Their lives collide in a fast pace, with ‘holy crap’ moments every other page. While it’s complex, with a number of characters, because of their originality, it is not difficult to remember who is whom. Dialogue as natural and unique as havving coffee with your friends .
Funny, how things go from bad to worse to reaaaaallly bad when the main character runs from the law. From cartels to a deranged wrestler, and a please throw that 80 yr old off the bus …
A very engaging book. If you look at one, just purchase all 4 (right now they are $4.99 on Amazon kindle) because it’s well worth it. 4 novellas work out page-wise to 2 novels.
http://bradcarl.com/ – Click for more cool stuff about Brad and his work.
Click here for the Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Grey-Areas-Saga-Books-1-4-ebook/dp/B019YTAC5U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1503193554&sr=8-2&keywords=brad+carl
And don’t forget – if you want a reviewer, ARC reader, and/or private consultation, I charge for those of us who are starving artists, $10 for the whole shebang. Especially helpful for those who self-publish, Indie and on a shoestring budget. email@example.com
Last night, I finished the BIG EDIT on How to Steal a Romance. I was too tired to get onto FB, WordPress, etc. to sing that hallelujah until today.
The intense past two weeks did me in. Whew. I took a day/evening off and hope to gather my wits about me, and in another day or so, will go back…and…listen…again. Via an eReader. It speaks each word
so if you have have an extra word here or there awkward sentence here… or accidentally insert a horizontal line that you thought was a strikeout line that sometimes our eyes don’t see–it picks up on it, and boom, you can hit pause and fix the MS. Even better, ’cause it’s free.
I spent about 20 minutes writing my most used phrases and words this morning (yes, again). Actions and emotions. Dialogue-y type stuff. Things that should individually belong to individual character. While the agent didn’t call specifically for these things, as a reader (and my Inner Edit Zombie), my eyes cast a shadow over them, scarier than Dark Shadows (that … might age me … if you know what that is without having to look it up, you’re in the same group!).
What is a writer’s life without the agony of editing? The rejections? The tunic rent asunder, ashes thrown into the air, with weeping and gnashing of teeth?
Okay, so that last part is 1. too Biblical and out of context … and 2. way over the top. For most of us.
Despite my ‘thank you, Lord’, for the small mercies of getting things done, I am still beat. Don’t think I could pick up a book or write a limerick today. Feel like a Borg. Plug me into the wall and let me stand there until I can fit into that waist-crushing outfit Seven of Nine had to wear (like that would ever happen).
<looks around, fanning self>
Anyone have a nice place in Nova Scotia I could stay at? It’s too hot here, so my tropical island dream right now has a latitude of Vermont or higher.
And surely there is a holiday or birthday somewhere in the world tomorrow, so Happy August Ninth *insert name of holiday* and have a great rest of the week.
I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to editing.
<Laughs in near hysteria>
Okay, whatever, you inner thought fool.
I ditched (for the most part) editing for the past two days, since I had to fill a gap into Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis. It wasn’t the ‘necessary or the world will fall apart if you don’t’ rewrite’, but since it’s a romance, it ya, kinda did.
Without the rewrite, there would be no decent clash between guy and gal. The male love interest would have no reason to act less decisively, since he’s a decisive kind of guy. Main character would have no ‘who IS this person and why did he…?’ Sure, she has her own issues to battle, but no looming worries over the love interest.
The tension of attraction wouldn’t be strong, because readers liked tension. And I just wasn’t feelin’ the tension.
Hey, we may not like to fight with our spouses in real life, but let the sparks fly in fiction, and –for me, the read is more satisfying.
If you fight with your spouse in anger, I highly recommend praying for each other and seeking counsel. Now. But, not in fiction–they misunderstand each other, argue, feelings get hurt, you know–guy gets girl, guy looses girl, guy gets girl back. Or in this case, girl hires guy (for real work, git your mind outta the gutter!), guy accepts job, girl… okay, that’s enough of that.
I’m a gimme-a-message kinda gal, too. Show me the worst side of the characters, how they overcome the obstacle: a fear, misunderstanding–or a real physical obstacle, and I might just realize how to face my own personal writing-demons-from-the-abyss. Or just the regular Hades abiding creepazoids, trying to fill me with fear and self-doubt.
Please, writer, don’t make your main characters perfect. *Yawn.* What are they physically, emotionally, spiritually struggling with? Is it a struggle I can relate to or empathize with? Think *Wounded Warriors,* men and women who see the worst in death, the heroic in saving the innocent, lose limbs … and the mind-torture of things you can’t un-see.
Well. Dang it. Just thought, I need to fiddle more with my antagonist.
FINE. ‘Time for some thrilling heroics.’ (Image: Firefly)
<slouches, reaching for another cup of Joe>
Going to the manuscript. Again.
<laughter emits from inner thoughts>
Shut up. Twit.
Sunday! Day of rest. Uh. Okay. I already know Who is my Sabbath Rest, every day.
Well … I arose too late to make it to church (this seems to be a routine problem…) but there is a plethora of reading that, every time I read through, shows me something New. Must always be discerning and test, compare with Hebrew and Greek and seek the wisdom from well-trusted pastors.
I don’t want to be an illiterate Christian in any chapter, Old and New Covenant. I mean, everyone in the NT spoke and taught only from the OT. Jesus never baptized anyone. He didn’t write a Gospel. He taught. He healed. He forgave everyone and those who would believe were sons and daughters of God. So yes, I am a bit preachy today. Did you know there is no category for Christian(s)?
To say this may seem weird, but who was the most anti-religion in Christ’s time? He was, and the reason? Religion was a perversion of works. Pretension. The elite who looked down on the lost. The arrogant. Everything the Church, collective, is today. He looks into our hearts. The lost (everyone) needs Him, but not everyone believes they do. How many rich rich rich people ‘need’ the Savior? They have everything they want. Good works won’t do it. Au contraire. It’s the recognition of falling short (all that we do against God), realizing His words in the OT, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Then, asking for the forgiveness only He can give and turning away. Then accepting it, and realizing that God is alive, and He wants a relationship with you (me, and everyone).
I suspect this will turn a lot of folks off (no, I know it will…). But there it is.
Today then, I am happy to say I have reached another edit of Forget Me Not, and my word count is up…I may have to cut and slash, but for now, am filling in the work with the timeline. Have asked my hubby to find my corkboard (which was conveniently moved into a secret place only he knows of…) so I can print my novel timeline and the crime timeline. Not my food/weight/health chart.
After I finish my social media flyby, I will put on my headphones, listen to music, and fiddle with the next chapter. Hopefully hubby will bring me that corkboard.
Ya, it’s old-fashioned. But I like it, so there. 🙂
Have a great Sunday, rest if you wish, dream about the characters (don’t forget paper and pen), stroll about, and watch human behavior.
If you are curious, visit my website (under my pen name – Claire O’Sullivan) http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan I tend to write on every subject that hits my fancy.
Twitter: @authorclaire1 – and I follow back.
Not long ago, I learned about deep point of view. The three types that writers use to get into the characters heads. Love it. Creates a depth to characters whom readers can relate to and love. Too much can be … too much. It’s all about balance.
Deep POV is a great way to build an audience. I tire and forget novelists who write characters without this. Deep POV grabs you by the collar and doesn’t let go.
I rewrote an entire manuscript to take me out of the work. Put each sight/sound/emotion into characters internal thought, action, or dialogue. Some telling is important, yes. But author intrusion or shallow writing is forgettable reading.
One critiquer demanded I rewrite the end or she’d go all ‘Misery’ on me. I didn’t give her my address. She realized it was a HEA for now, and forgave me. My editor told me I had to rewrite. She cried. Three times, in the same chapter. Her last statement was, ‘I don’t know if I edited anything, I cried so much. I will be thinking of Calhoun and Cade for a long time.’ YES!
The terror, the anger, the angst, and loss. I want my writing to sing and my readers to be there … to laugh, feel anger, cry. When my critiquers argue inline with my characters, I know I’ve done my job. Grab those readers. This is what makes an author memorable because there is a takeaway message.
If you don’t know about deep point of view (aka deep POV), find it. Steve Laube Agency today wrote on this. Scribophile has a great section and group dedicated to deep point of view.
Deep point of view takes us into the thoughts, actions, and emotion of the character. He/she has to overcome a personal obstacle to address the inciting factor pulling said character into resolving the obstacle. It is always about the character. If characters have no physical, emotional flaws, then they are shallow, forgettable, and off I go to the next book, hoping to relate to the character. You find deep POV in their actions, thoughts, expressions, dialogue, environments. Don’t narrate, please.
I might add … Scribophile has resources on filtering, show/tell, different point of view, style and honest critiques.
One of the most cherished holidays of the season. When I was young, I often missed Mother’s Day, Father’s Day.
I didn’t appreciate the importance of thanking my parents for all the love they’d given me, for every decision I made. For the material/immaterial things that kids sometimes don’t get.
Now, they’re gone. Passed a long time ago, but now … I wish I could tell them how much I appreciate them.
Anyone else feel like a heel?
I don’t know how it happened, ’cause I hadn’t put any weight on these holidays, but my son, once he was old enough to understand and every year since, has given me a card, chocolate, or taken me to brunch. Today, he and his girlfriend treated my husband to brunch and I got to tag along.
If I had a time machine …
Thank you Mom and Dad for all your love. And today, Dad, I wish I could smell that really stinky cigar, just one more time.
Today, I am not writing about writing. This is reading and doing.
This. Is. Personal.
I have battled ups and downs with weight control for YEARS. I have yet to reach my goal–however, I am much closer to the goal than where I was at. Am I going to tell you? Heck, no. Geez.
(Am I pushing this? Yes. http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )
You see, I love food. Seems to be, I love food that is not particularly healthy. Like… pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy. Hamburgers, hot dogs. PIE. Sticky buns. Italian food. Name something. Except lutefisk.
Over the years (and I mean many years) I have been on every single diet ever touted on the face of the earth. Name one. Been there. From vegetarian to the Zone (and weirder diets), like the grapefruit and steak diet …
The Zone demanded tuna for lunch every day. It might have well been an entire fish for all I was concerned, I hate tuna. I managed the Zone one … day.
I would stand in the cookbook aisle of healthy foods, well. Not so healthy. I lived vicariously through pictures. It didn’t help me lose weight by the way.
After so may failed attempts I WROTE A COOKBOOK. With…good…food.
Pizza. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes. Apple pie. Sticky buns. HEALTHY! Tastes great. Easy to make. From BBQ to crockpot, and everything in between. Mexican food, easy comfort foods. Pumpkin pie. Lasagna. LASAGNA!
Best of all–every recipe can be tailored to your diet needs. Gluten free? Swap the wheat noodles out for your favorite alternates. Need soy or rice milk? Go for it!
A lot of folks did great with simple changes. Other diets, lifestyles — many too austere, can cause a person to … fall away, like I did. Within days. I’ve spent scads of money on diet books, only to hate the food, eat something bland, disgusting or just plain stupid.
Once I figured a few simple changes, my weight went down. My cholesterol stunned my doctor. My joint pain eased. I had obstructive sleep apnea. It’s gone. I had acid reflux. THAT’s gone. So, hence the book. ( http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan/book-inner-page )
Don’t get me wrong. Every now and again, I fall into a temptation. But it’s not like falling off the wagon. It’s more of a stumble. If you hit the ground, you get up, brush off the dirt and continue on.
I hope you (diabetic, hypertensive, high cholesterol, weight control, heart disease folks) who have been told to be vegans and can barely choke it down (no knock on vegans, they do pretty well, those who like it), find refuge and health in my book. Go ahead. Shock your doctor/practitioner. Tell him/her what you have done. Good PR for me 🙂
I address food. Not so much exercise. I’ll do that here. I used to be a cross country runner. Then I took up karate. After a disastrous knee accident, it’s has never been right, so I started walking. Then more problems arose. Head to toe type. I started boxing (yes, in the comfort and safety of my own home). Best exercise ever. Until the arthritis took over my wrists and hands. I am still looking for the perfect exercise. Swimming, no. Water walking – sorry, I won’t do it. Sure, I’m gray. But I ain’t water walking.
Lifestyle changes come easy when you change one thing at a time. Don’t swap out all of your foods, you may find yourself in the welfare aisle. Changes should be reasonable. Cooking should be short and savory. Food should be like my fettuccine –to die for. Desserts must tickle your tongue. Enjoy your food! Do not go hungry or stand in the cookbook section vicariously living through pictures …
This is a lifestyle I can live with. Visit my web page and click on Fabulous Foods Enjoying Healthy Comfort Foods. It will take you directly to the Amazon page. You can find it on Kindle also.
Why am I pushing it then? Because I have met with authors who have since passed away, succumbing to a lifestyle disorder. Because I know authors who are limping along trying and falling for months. I know scads of people who want good food, including family.
It. Is. Personal.
I continue on, battling the same as you. I don’t wish to be in the ICU or cardiac care unit, thank you.
http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan and click on the book’s picture and hit ‘buy.’
This is not a money-maker for me, royalties are in the dirt. I used to buy boxes of books -print on demand- and had a captive audience, but lives were changed. To me, that makes it worth it.
It’s under the name (real) that I work under, so don’t be terribly confused 🙂
5 to >100 pounds IT IS DOABLE.
I. Hate. Editing. Worse, I hate editing too soon.
It means, ugh … slicing. Dicing. Adding and subtracting words, sections, scenes. And it means — commas, colons, semi-colons. That’s the easy part.
How long should a sentence be? Gasp! Should I use be at the end of the sentence? Should I use an ! point? The dangling modifier. An awkward sentence. Overused words.
If you are new to writing and you spend more time at conferences, reading the Chicago Manual of Style (that changes every year, by the way), and edit each sentence on your first draft–you may be an Edit Zombie.
You may have realized by now writing is not your endgame. It’s (I’m so sorry to say this) your beginning. What is your genre? Do you brand yourself (NO, not like cattle), do you have a platform?
Kristen Lamb has a terrific blog: http://authorkristenlamb.com/ She has classes. Words of wisdom. Don’t forget to follow her!
Back to editing. What a hairy ordeal, and the new writer (without an English or Journalism major) can run into some serious trouble. How do you publish? Through an agent, a traditional publishing house? Vanity (I recommend staying away from them, just ’cause)? Self-publish? Each want you to 1. edit and 2. market. Writing is hard. Editing sucks. And marketing is heinous, but not necessarily the job of your agent/publishing house, and for self-publishing–you are it. Hope and pray you have enough money for a professional editor.
Take heart and keep an eye out. I am writing a down-and-dirty book. The how-to, the lists you need. The TIPS to walk with your head held high, knowing you are no longer the zombie that sucks your soul dry (wait ’til the end of the fun process… )
Please check out Marilee McDonald’s blog. You may be required. No wait. You are likely required. If you have any contact with any person living in the EU, you are most definitely required.
I am going to do what I can to put the compliancy check box here. It is already on my website, total pain. Next… Facebook. Then… LinkedIn.
Because the EU has nothing better to do than to crap on people’s lives. Idiots.
AND YES as I preview, it has my information in there. If you can, please edit that out, add a fake I mean ‘your’ name, optional for website, and check box if you want to receive updates.
Thought this needed another read-through and sharing.
Of course, there’s a great deal of trouble everywhere one looks. Why do you think we’re here? The world, according to the laws of standard distribution, has always been half-filled with below-average people and somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five percent reprobative thinkers. Society’s state of affairs, as a result, never has and never will manage itself.
Regardless, the place is what I’d like to call a Morally Integrated Universe. That is to say, a realm universally subject to predictable consequences, from which a reliable set of guidelines may emerge.
Of course, any discussion involving morality is problematic these days. This mostly is due to the vociferous commitment of those who reject established norms, and who oftentimes prove quick to anger at commonsense assertions regarded as judgmental in their camp.
Such irrationality, is, of course, itself a judgment, one made from what Andrew Breitbart used to call the occupation of unearned…
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A terrific post.
When we fear we have no real purpose in the greater plan.
We’ve been called to it … and it is anything God gifts you with that glorifies Him, that gives a gentle word to others.
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