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17 posts from September 2009

09/30/2009

Book Signing Success

I was thrilled when people actually showed up for my book signing last night. It's always nice when you have someone to talk to instead of just standing around looking uncomfortable. 

There's supposed to be a write up in the paper next week, so I'm really excited about that too. All is well on the writing front. I hope things continue to move along. This is one of the most exciting things I've ever been part of and I am enjoying it immensely. Just wish my mom was still here to enjoy it with me. Hope she's looking down and smiling at me right now.

09/29/2009

Book Signing Today, West Feliciana Parish Library

Tonight at 7pm I'll be speaking and signing copies of Where the Dreams End, and Nine Kinds of Trouble, at the West Feliciana Parish Library in St. Francisville, Louisiana. If you're in the area, drop in and say hello. 

09/28/2009

Writer's Block

When I get stuck on a WIP or can't get motivated, I write short stories. I don't write one and edit it and worry it until it's perfect and I need to figure out where to submit, I just write, one after the other and usually one of them will catch my attention. I'll fall in love with the characters or the story and decide they deserve more than a few hundred or a few thousand words. When that happens, those characters are stuck in my head and I can't get them out unless I write. I guess it's the same principle as free writing. It gets me into a zone where my creative side gets to be in charge.

 

I also believe that sometimes, you have to give yourself permission to not write. If you keep pressuring yourself to write, and you keep fighting it and fighting it, then it gets to be something that's not fun and that just makes it harder to get back at it. So give yourself permission to not write for a week or a month or whatever. But while you're not sitting at the keyboard, make notes, let your subconscious out to play and by the end of the week, you usually can't wait to get back to the keyboard. Writing should be a joy, at least the creation part of it. Don't turn it into something that adds stress to your life. 

09/25/2009

What I Like to Read: Nancy Drew

Carolyn Keene made me the mystery fanatic I am today. The Secret at Shadow Ranch...my all time favorite Nancy Drew story. What wasn’t there to love about this girl? She had a convertible, a boyfriend, money, adventures and two best buddies to share it all with. So her mom was dead, big deal, she had everything and she was pretty. I wanted to be Nancy Drew. 

So between Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys, my future as a mystery fanatic was sealed at a very early age. Oh, I made my teenage foray into the romance world, and I still dip a toe there from time to time, but mystery is always where my heart lies. I’m still waiting for that convertible, and the boyfriend, well...and the money, too. 

Who made you a mystery lover?

09/24/2009

It's International Punctuation Day!!!

Decorate the tree, cook the ham, punctuate something. It's International Punctuation day and we need to celebrate. 

Who doesn't love the sinuous curve of the question mark, the rigid excitement of the exclamation point, the small but definite finality of the period. And if that's not enough for you, just take a look at this. When punctuation fails, it can get ugly.

Signs at bus stops in North Miami Beach declared:  Say 'NO' to Drugs from the NMB Police D.A.R.E Officers.


If you want a fun look at punctuation, pick up Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss. It's my favorite grammar book. Anything that can make punctuation funny is worth it's weight in gold!




09/23/2009

And the Winner Is.....

Jose Mojica is the winner of the first ever Mystery Flash Fiction Contest at KdBlog. Check out his winning entry below. It's a great story.

Thanks, Jose.

September 20th

 Every year since graduating college, I get a call on September 20th exactly at 7:00 PM. “Happy Birthday, Jay,” the elderly lady says. “It’s Grammy. I’m sorry I haven’t called....” The problem is I don’t have a grandmother, my birthday is in May, and my name is Mike. After five years, I finally decided to say something. “I’m sorry, but I’m not Jay...” “I know that,” the lady said. “Jay was my grandson. You killed him while boating in Cancun. The police said it was an accident, but I knew you were drinking. You always did.” “But I’ve never been to Cancun.” “Is this 555-3838?” the lady asked. “No, it’s 555-3839.” “Sorry, wrong number.”

09/22/2009

Where the Dreams End

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 My mystery novel, Where the Dreams End, was published on August 2nd of this year. I started this blog in part to help promote Dreams and my short story collection, Nine Kinds of Trouble. I just realized, I haven't had a post about my books, so today's the day. 

Here's what author, Richard Hawke, had to say about Where the Dreams End. "The easy grace of Easley's writing is matched by her vivid understanding of what makes people tick. It's a pleasure to be in such good hands."

Here's a short synopsis to whet your appetite.

Brocs Harley hasn't always lived on the right side of the law, but he's never been accused of murder...until now.

A repo man with a degree in criminal justice and a background in grand theft and B&E, Brocston Harley has never tried to avoid his black sheep label or his father's ire. His little brother, Drew, was the golden boy. The favorite son, heir to the Harley real estate fortune, and recently engaged, Drew had everything a young man could want. When he's found dead of an apparent suicide, Brocs knows in his gut it has to be murder. When the police come to the same conclusion, Brocs finds he's the number one suspect. It will take all of his skills to stay out of prison, unearth an ugly family secret and discover who murdered his brother and why.

Click on the cover photo on the right side of the blog to get your copy of Where the Dreams End, or Nine Kinds of Trouble and thanks in advance for helping my Dreams come true. 

KD

09/21/2009

Writing for the Market

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Write what you love. If you’re writing for the market, or trying to cash in on a trend, beware. By the time you’ve finished your work, found an agent, been accepted by a publisher it could be three years or more before your book sees the light of day. By that time, vampires, or mystery solving cats may have been replaced by erotic mystery solving aliens, or sleuthing parakeets. If you still love vampires, or mystery solving cats, knock yourself out. Just don’t count on cashing in on the flavor of the month.

09/20/2009

It's a Birthday Contest and You're the Winner. Maybe.

First off, it's my son's birthday, so Happy Birthday J!

Now that my personal business is taken care of, how about something fun. In honor of number one son's big day, I'm going to have a little writing exercise. Just something fun to kill a little time. 

How about a flash fiction mystery featuring a birthday and a character who's name starts with the letter J. A one-hundred word mystery. I'm not counting words, so it doesn't have to be exact, but let's police ourselves on this one and keep to the spirit of the contest. The birthday boy and I will read the stories and pick a winner.

Winner receives a copy of my short story collection Nine Kinds of Trouble, so get those keyboards ready. Contest ends Tuesday the 22nd at noon. I'll post the winning story on the blog on Wednesday the 23rd.

I love flash fiction, so get those keyboards humming.

09/19/2009

It's Talk like a Pirate Day! Arrrrrrrrr

So, you'll be wantin to talk like a pirate today, matey, or I'll have you walk the plank you scurvy dog. Arrrrrrr.

Yay! This is the first time I've remembered talk like a pirate day. I'm so proud. 

09/14/2009

Guest Blogger Lonnie Cruse

Writer's Conferences: Are They Worth It?

Today KdBlog welcomes guest blogger Lonnie Cruse, author of the Kitty Bloodworth/'57 Chevy series and the Metropolis Mystery series. I recently visited Metropolis, Illinois to have my photo taken with the Man of Steel and to sit down for a face to face chat with my long time internet buddy Lonnie Cruse. She agreed after much arm twisting to write a blog post for KdBlog.  One of the many things we discussed during lunch were the pros and cons of writer's conferences, so Lonnie decided a blog post about that was the perfect choice. 

I really didn't have to twist her arm. Thanks for joining us today, Lonnie.


WRITER'S CONFERENCES/CONVENTIONS are they worth it?

By Lonnie Cruse

If you are a writer, somewhere on this planet, particularly in the U.S. there is a writer's conference or convention you can attend. Conferences are mostly for writers to meet, discuss writing, network with agents, publishers, or other writers, and try to get published and/or stay published. Some fans do usually attend and some books are sold.

Conventions are primarily for fans of writers to show up, buy the latest book, and get it autographed. Some networking is done by writers with agents, publishers, etc. but mostly it's for authors and fans to meet. Either event is going to cost an author quite a bit, beginning with the attendance fee, hotel room, travel expenses, any meals that aren't included, and of course, the dozens of book we swear we won't buy . . . but always do.

Writers are generally on very limited budgets unless we happen to be a household name, and many still hold down a day job and write at night. Or the reverse. But attending conferences is a HUGE chunk of the budget and many non-household name writers are lucky to sell ten books at one of these events. The really lucky might sell between twenty and thirty books.

So, what's the point? Why blow this much of the writer's yearly promotion money to attend one? The key is mostly networking. Networking with agents and/or publishers to become or remain published. Networking with other authors to keep abreast of the latest in publishing, or to get help with editing, or just plain get help. And to network with readers, get to know them, get them to know us, and more important, to know our work.

While there are a very few authors around who apparently have a death wish when it comes to their writing career because they treat fans and fellow authors alike with disdain, most of us are as thrilled as puppies at the pound to be noticed by anyone passing by. We love chatting about ourselves or our work. We love sharing tips, helping others, making new friends. And selling books, so we can write more or go to more of these events.  If you are a fan, don't be afraid to approach an author for an autograph or a quick chat.

Are conferences or conventions cost effective? No. Not in my humble opinion. Do they help the author? Boy howdy. So if you have a chance to attend a conference near you, take advantage. And don't forget to keep receipts and turn this information into your accountant. Mine says mileage is my best friend. I believe her.

Lonnie Cruse writes the Kitty Bloodworth/'57 Chevy series and the Metropolis Mystery Series. Her website is: http://www.lonniecruse.com or you can catch her weekly posts on Poes Deadly Daughters.

09/11/2009

Places I go, Characters I know


I'm lucky, my work takes me all over the United States. I been to Laura Lippman's Baltimore, oh yeah, I've seen the Domino sugar sign. I visited Jim Chee's Window Rock, and I've taken a gander at Elvis Coles, LA. I've had the opportunity to see the places some of my favorite writers use in their stories. If I'm lucky, I get to read one of those stories while I'm staying in the area. Then it really comes to life for me. That's all normal and good, but here's what happened to me last spring.

My work took me to Richland, Washington. It's one of the tri-cities tucked in between the Columbia, the Snake and the Yakima rivers. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The people are friendly, the food is good, the weather is fantastic. Spokane is a very pretty two hour drive north. Seattle is about four hours, away. I really enjoyed working in the area. But, the whole time I was there, I had a nagging notion that there was someone I needed to see.

Here's the deal, I really wanted to go explore Seattle, but my exploring buddies were working the day shift and I was on nights, so if I went, it was going to have to be alone and I didn't really want to do that. I can explore and sight see alone, but something is gained when the experience is shared. I wanted to share it, and I was just certain that I knew someone in Seattle that could give me the grand tour if I could only remember who it was.

On the way to work one night, It finally hit me. The person I knew in Seattle was J.P. Beaumont. Yeah, J.A. Jance's character. I was absolutely certain that I had an acquaintance in Seattle. And I did, I guess, but it was going to be difficult for my fictional acquaintance to give me the grand tour.

What a talent J.A. Jance has, to bring a character so thoroughly to life that when I arrived in his neck of the woods I just knew I had a friend in the area. I can only hope that some day one of my characters will come to life for my readers in the same way.

Tell me, what writer does this best for you? Where do you go and what fictional character goes along for the ride?

Sale! Sale! Sale! Get yours today!

Big News! Starting Thursday September 10th and running for one week, the Kindle edition of, Where the Dreams End, will be available for only $1.99. That's right, just one dollar and ninety-nine cents. Get those keyboards ready. This deal won't last long. Just one dollar and ninety-nine cents.  

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Don't miss this great deal! 

I so wish Billy Mays was here to pitch this for me.

09/08/2009

Seriously? Underwear?

Since I just went back to work, which means among other things, I drove for at least ten hours and moved in to a motel that looks exactly like every other motel ever built. I thought I would share a motel experience. I spend a lot of time living in motels. By I lot, I mean, weeks and months at a time. I've left a lot of things in motel rooms over the years. Pillows mostly. I've left pillows all over the United States. But I've also left shampoo, hairbrushes, books, stuffed animals, toothbrushes. Sometimes, when I leave, I add a paperback book that I've finished to the drawer of the bedside table. It's nice to end up in a room unexpectedly and find something to read beside the phone book and the bible. Surprisingly, I haven't found many items that have been left in rooms. I assume the hotel maids get first crack at the lost and found if they want it. Overall they do a pretty good job. A while back I stayed in a room in Pennsylvania. It was an average room. Nothing special until I went into the bathroom. Hanging on the back of the bathroom door was a pair of men's boxers. Dirty men's boxers. Can I just say gross. I think my experience is probably pretty tame. If Elaine Viets, Dead End Job Mysteries, are anything to judge by, I don't think I really want to know what all's been left in the rooms before I got there. So, here's my advice to guys that like to go comando just some of the time. If your gonna let it swing, make sure you pack your drawers before you head home. I'm just sayin. 


KD

09/06/2009

I want two chicken strips

I stopped on my way to work a while back at a fast food chicken restaurant that shall remain nameless. The story is not so much about the chicken place as it is about the people. 

I wanted a snack to eat on my way to work. Chicken strips are a great car food. Easy to hold on to, not very messy if you don't dunk them in sauce. So I decided a couple of chicken strips and a biscuit would be just the ticket. 

I walked into the restaurant.

"May I help you?" The young lady at the counter asked with a smile.

"Yes, I would like two chicken strips and a biscuit to go please."

"What side would you like with that?"

"No side, I just want two chicken strips and biscuit."

"Well, it comes with a side."

"I don't really want a side, I'll just take the two strips and a biscuit." 

The young lady looked confused. She scanned the cash register buttons in front of her, then turned to look a the menu over her head.

"That comes with a side."

I huffed out my breath in frustration. "Okay, I'll take a piece of cheesecake."

"That's a desert, not a side," she said.

"But I don't want a side."

"It comes with a side."

"Look, I just want two strips of chicken and one biscuit."

"Just a minute please."

She turned and motioned her manager over. They whispered for a moment, then the manager took over for the young lady.

"We don't have two strips and a biscuit. You can get four strips and a biscuit."

"Can't you just give me the two strip meal and keep the side?"

"The two strip meal comes with a side, you got to get four strips if you don't want a side."

I gave up, I had to get to work and didn't have time to discuss it any longer. I got four strips and a biscuit. I would have rather had the cheesecake.

Happy Eating

kd

This post appeared on the original KdBlog in July of 2008


09/05/2009

How to know if you're a mystery writer

Have you ever stopped for a rest by a nice little fountain in the park and thought, “whoa, that would be a cool place to put a body.” Or,maybe you were dining out with friends and said something along the lines of, “wow, the seasoning on this pork is fantastic. If there was poison in it, no one would ever even notice.” This doesn’t happen to you? Really? You’ve never been driving through town late at night and thought, “If you pushed someone off that balcony, they’d land right in the middle of Dawson’s awning.” Hmmm, you might not be a mystery writer.

We’re a strange breed. There’s no telling what kind of twists and turns our brains might make with little or no provocation. When we see car trunks we think in terms of whether or not a body would fit inside. If we’re looking at summer dresses, we might contemplate what pattern might look the most garish with a large bloodstain down the front. When we shop for shoes, we look for something sexy, “but I need to be able to run in them.” If your initial instinct on entering a room or a building for the first time isn’t “Where would be the most shocking place to drop a dead body,” you might not be cut out for the mystery world.

We’re a little strange, but perfectly harmless. We’re only violent on the page. Really.

Happy Writing

KD

This post appeared in the original KdBlog in September of 2007

KdBlogs Again

My blogging has been sporadic over the last few months and when I got back to it, my blog didn't like me anymore. So, here I am with a brand new shiny blog. KdBlog is back. This time I think it's here to stay.

First order of business is to try and get my old blog posts moved into the archives of the new KdBlog. I'm fairly inept at all things computing, so if I can't figure out how to backdate the posts, there might be a fair amount of repeat performances. Check them out, and hang in there. There's lots of new stuff to come.