2022: Flatiron Death Grip

Last fall my novel, Flatiron Death Grip was released by Airship 27 Productions. This novel has been on my mind for years culminating from four short stories gathered together into one novel with one goal for all the characters. I can say that was more difficult than I initially thought. But it was worth it, and it was fun!

Airship 27 pairs their authors with two artists: one for a cover and one for the inside illustrations. This gave me the opportunity to meet and work with two new and extremely talented people. It is so satisfying to see how someone else sees your art when they illustrate it using their art.

And then something even more exciting happened: Gabriella Saenz, the artist who illustrated the inside of the book, wanted to adapt it to a graphic novel. What?!? I’d written one, short, comic book. Writing novels are a world away from writing the script for a graphic novel and I was about to learn like I was drinking from a firehose. Yes, I wanted to do this. And we are.

I’m almost finished with the initial draft of the script. I don’t know what will need to be changed, but I can’t wait to see the final product. Gabs is fearless and talented and never had a question about whether we could do this. I, had to prove to myself it was possible. We are going to accomplish this project and I can’t wait to show it to you.

Here’s the blurb of the story. While you wait for the graphic novel, you can pick up a copy of the novel on Amazon.

Teasy patrolled the streets at night wearing her lime green F. U. tee shirt from Flatiron University where she wished she could have attended. Like so many people in her neighborhood she’s tired of the criminals like the Gray Wolf gang who’d taken over. Gangs had killed her family and friends and she wanted her neighborhood back. She had the tools to put an end to the criminal activity, but the air pollution in the city was getting worse by the minute. And Teasy and her new gang may have found an answer to that.

The Civil Rights Act had once more been amended, and now included all life forms: humans, werewolves, vampires, and the most hideous, zombies. And suddenly the world was full of them. But could they save the world before everyone choked to death on the pollution?

A fun romp through a world where fantasy becomes reality and the answer to the world’s problems could be sitting in an abandoned subway tunnel just waiting to be discovered.

                What are you reading this week?

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2022: Writing Great Descriptions

Stories don’t work without descriptions—the reader needs to experience what the character experiences.

The best way to write a great description is to close your eyes and envision the scene—lay out the scene in your mind before you write it

DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS WOULD NOTICE—writing is an account of how people think—so be sure to think for your character

Use all the senses—seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing, and smelling

            He saw the trees as he walked down the street – colors, swaying in the breeze etc.

            He felt the rough bark on the tree or the cool shade of its branches

            He tasted the apple from the tree

            He heard the birds in the tree

            He smelled the apple in his hand

  • Have you provided enough details and descriptions so your readers can gain a complete and vivid perception?
  • Have you left out any minor but key details?
  • Have you used words that convey your emotion or perspective?
  • Are there any unnecessary details in your description?
  • Does each paragraph of your essay focus on one aspect of your description?
  • Are your paragraphs ordered in the most effective way?

To be sure it is descriptive ask yourself:

  • Does the story unfold in a way that helps the reader fully appreciate the subject? Do any paragraphs confuse more than describe?
  • Does the word choice and language involve the five senses and convey emotion and meaning?
  • Are there enough details to give the reader a complete picture?
  • Has a connection been made between the description and its meaning to the writer? Will the reader be able to identify with the conclusion?

Do not put all your descriptions into a lump–spread them out into back stories and make descriptions part of the active story

But the most important rules of writing is: “Learn the rules and then break them!” Remember it is your story and it is yours to create.

What are you reading and writing this week?

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2022: Putnam Six Book Signing – Blooming Greed!

I had a book signing at our local bookstore, Putnam Six, yesterday to launch the second in the Keystone Lake series, Blooming Greed. Chloe Fuksa and her bookstore are a great asset to our community. She opened her store a few years ago and runs it by herself. She kept things going during the height of the Pandemic by creating a website and selling books to her neighbors who were stuck inside. It is a place for community involvement and several book clubs meet there. Like I said, she is an asset.

The weather is finally warming up and the ice has melted. The sun shone and people ventured out again and who doesn’t need an enjoyable book now and then? A steady flow of book-buyers came and went. I bought one for a neighbor with an upcoming birthday and sold a few of my own.

Blooming Greed is set on Keystone Lake in eastern Oklahoma. It is the second mystery set in that location with the same main character, Erin, who is solving mysteries while growing up. In the first book, Blooming Justice, Erin was in college and helped bring a rapist to justice with the aid of her aunt, a lawyer in Tulsa.

In Blooming Greed, she has become a lawyer herself and is working in her aunt’s firm. This time in her hometown of Mannford, Oklahoma, her neighbors are dying and disappearing, and their properties are underwater. Was it because of the spring rains or was the dam not working as it should? Erin thought there was something preventing the dam from letting out enough water and Tulsa and surrounding communities might be in danger.

Pick up a copy of Blooming Greed and stop by Putnam Six when you’re in Enid. Chloe would love to see you.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Writing Talk – Setting

I thought we’d talk a little bit about setting today in our discussion about writing.  All stories have a setting – it is important enough that it can be another character. When you begin your story think about where it takes place. See it in your mind.

            What place inspires you – the seashore, mountains, desert, your own backyard? Seeing the beauty around you encourages your imagination.  Is this place you are writing about set in the present, past, or future? These questions must be answered before you begin to write.

            I am a water lover.  I have set five of my novels on a seashore or on a lake.  I love the water and trust and respect it.  It is romantic and can be terrifying as well.  Maybe you don’t like water, or your character doesn’t so write about a place you like: a big city, the desert, the mountains, or your hometown.  All settings evoke a feeling to the reader and give your story and characters depth. 

            If you are stuck in writer’s block give these ten great story settings a try.  Write a story that takes place:

1. in a tattoo parlor

2. at the zoo at night

3. in an abandoned mental hospital

4. in a submarine

5. in a magnet factory

6. in the vault of a bank

7. in a bridal shop

8. in the kitchen of Buckingham Palace

9. on the edge of a cliff

10. entirely in the dark

            Soon your story will begin to take place.  And if you really want to have some fun, visit these places before you write. Your characters and your readers will thank you.

            What are you writing this week?

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2022: Once Upon a Time – Beginning a Story

I thought we might talk a little about the art of writing in the next few weeks.  I work with the teen writers at the local library, and we’ve worked hard on first lines for a story so it will grab the attention of the reader.  We’ve brainstormed and researched and here are some things we’ve come up with.

Your first line should grab the readers’ interest and also tell the story.  You should know everything about the story from the first line. Or at least the first paragraph – or first page.  Readers lose interest quickly and you want to keep them as long as possible. Grab a book off the shelf and see how the writer started it.  Did it grab your attention? 

Some good examples of masters at the craft are these:

House of Night – P. C. Cast – “Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker.”

The Dark Tower Series – Stephen King – “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”

Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan – “Look I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

Twilight – Stephanie Meyer – “I’d never given much thought to how I would die.”

American Gods – Neil Gaiman – “Shadow had done three years in prison.”

I don’t always have a great first line.  But by the end of my novel or short story I always go back and rewrite the first line or maybe write a new one.  It is important to your reader. Then once you tell your story, use that visual at the end to pull the story together.  You have told the story, now bring it full circle.  This rule should apply to all fiction.

There are no expert writers, only students of the craft.  There is always something new to learn to make you a better writer.

Tell me what you’re writing and how it begins.

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2022: Party!

I had a release party for Blooming Greed last night at a local watering hole. That might not describe this very successful local restaurant and bar. Callahan’s Pub is a place you want to be on St. Patrick’s Day if you want loud music, beer, and crowds. They have more beers on tap than I have ever seen and don’t recognize most of them. But on a regular Saturday night I had reserved a table for 15 (come and go) and bought appetizers. It was a fun time. They have great food and service. I got to see old friends, even though we still had snow on the ground and a pandemic in the air.

I always forget to take pictures. One friend and my daughter took some and as always, I was pumped. Showing off my book to some of the best people in the world, will do that to me.

The friends were people from my working days and my writing club. I have a book signing at Putnam 6, a local bookstore in my hometown, on the 24th also. Maybe a different group of people will come by my table. Chloe, the owner is always gracious.

I’ve had two books release in the last six months. It never seems to fail that they come out in bunches. But I am always working on another (or two). I need to decide which one to finish next.

Support your local artists and buy their wares in this time of pandemic. We are all in this together.

What are you reading this week? Expect the unexpected!

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2022: Spring is Near

I’m so ready for spring. I live in the mid-west, and it doesn’t get as cold here as in some parts of the world, but I’m ready for warmer weather.

I took the dog for a walk yesterday in jeans and a long-sleeved tee shirt and enjoyed every minute. I want to be able to do that every day. I think the perfect temperatures would be between 60 – 90 degrees, sunshine and a light breeze. But there’s a problem with that. We have freezing temperatures and snow in the forecast this week.

If everything good is just given to you, do you appreciate it? If it was always sunny, the house was clean, there was money in the bank, and food on the table, would you appreciate it? I know I wouldn’t, and neither would most humans.

Life is a struggle for good reason. You don’t now what you have until it’s gone. Humans are a selfish bunch wanting only the good and easy. But we have been given a task—to make life what it is. Flip Wilson used to say, “what you see is what you get.” Or in this case, what you work for is what you get.

I noticed yesterday that the tips of my English Boxwood bushes were brown—nipped by the cold, dry air of winter. In the spring, I’ll have to clip those off so the bush will once more be green and lovely. I’ll have to work for what I get; the bushes can’t do that themselves.

I have more than one project on the computer and if I don’t get busy on them, they will never get finished. That is life. If I want those novels finished, I have to bring them to life.

What project do you want finished that you just can’t seem to finalize? Spring is around the corner—better get busy.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Blooming Greed

It happens this week! Blooming Greed, the second in the Keystone Lake Series, releases for sale on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. I love this story and I love the setting. It takes place once more on Keystone Lake in eastern Oklahoma.

My husband and I had a piece of property there when we were younger, and I loved spending the weekend on the lake. We eventually sold it because running back and forth to take care of two homes became more of a chore than fun. I wanted to sell the house here and build a home on the lake to retire on. He’s more of a landlubber than I am. So, we stayed put. Instead, we used the proceeds of that sale to pay off our one home.

But when I was a kid, I spent weekends on Canton and Keystone lakes with my family and I loved the lake life. That is why I wrote about it. I also love a good mystery and so I combined the two.

Blooming Greed finds Erin back, and all grown up. The first novel, Blooming Justice, Erin was a young college student helping to bring a rapist to justice. In Blooming Greed, she has passed the bar and is working as an associate attorney but still loves the lake where she was born. She is determined to make sure it remains healthy in spite of the flooding. She works with the Corp of Engineers and local sheriff to find out why people are disappearing, and the dam is not working as it should. Greed can make even the best of people do strange things. But could the person behind the land sales at bargain prices be her friend from school?

Blooming Greed is available on Amazon Blooming Greed: Chambers, Peggy: 9781509240258: Amazon.com: Books for pre-sale until Wednesday and then you can get your copy! Find out who is causing all the trouble at the lake, and will the dam hold long enough for the repairs it needs? Tulsa and communities below the dam are dependent on it.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Snow Day

It snowed yesterday in Oklahoma. Only the second one of the season. We might have gotten an inch if you stretched it some, and it was bitterly cold. In years gone by, I would have put on my Yaktrax and gone to work, my lunch packed, in dress pants and a heavy coat, prepared to come out and clear a windshield when the day was done. Then I would drive the treacherous roads back home to a warm house. At least I hoped it was warm.

But I’m retired now and falling on the ice—let’s just say I don’t bounce like I used to. So, I stayed in. All. Day. Long.

I had plenty to do.  I wrote for hours, took a nap, talked on the phone, baked a peach crisp, cooked supper, and watched a movie before bed where I read some before going to sleep.  I know how to party on a snow day!

I’ve been reading a Mary Higgins Clark novel.  She knew how to set a mood. You knew from page one something was wrong with that house!  Get out! But it is good to read the masters and learn from them.  She was a very successful author of 51 bestselling books, and she knew how to spin a tale.

I awoke this morning to fog coming off the snow.  It is supposed to warm up and the small amount of moisture we received from the snow will hopefully melt into our thirsty soil.  Oklahoma is in a drought. 

I plan to get out and enjoy the sun.  I am not sure what I’ll do today, but there is always something that needs my attention.  I spent an afternoon this week in the shower on my hands and knees with a  scrub brush.  I think I need to shop for a sponge mop with a scrubber on it.  Do they still make those? I’m too old to crawl around scrubbing nooks and crannies in a shower.

And then there is always the Mary Higgins Clark novel awaiting me.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Ian’s Magic

In 2020 I published my first children’s book, Ian’s Magic. It released in the middle of the pandemic (yes, the same one we’re still dealing with). But I was unable to have a book signing or release party. It was a soft opening. But the little book has done well. I promoted it through social media and today I am still working on getting it into schools, libraries, etc.

It is based on a story I wrote many years ago for my grandson who came home from grade school so excited about the concept of math. For a non-math person, I was excited for his excitement and set out to join him in his celebration of the subject. The book went through many changes, and I found a publisher who would take it and run with it. Doodle and Peck Publishing out of Yukon, OK took a chance on the little book and added it to their growing library.

Ian Conner learned in the first grade he could perform magic using math. And this year, the prize for the annual math contest is $500! Ian really wants to win, but he knows classmate Thomas Martin will be stiff competition. Thomas wins every year. And this year he has a college tutor helping him prep for the contest!

Ian decides to study accelerated math, hoping it will help him win. But when the day of the competition arrives Ian must make a difficult choice – hope his studying helps him win fair and square – or cheat using his “math magic” to win the contest.

No matter what his little brother thought, math would always be magical to Ian. Check out Ian’s Magic. Available on Amazon in paperback and hardback and at fine bookstores everywhere or online at Ian’s Magic | Universal Book Links Help You Find Books at Your Favorite Store! (books2read.com)

What are you reading this week?

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