Tuesday, December 06, 2016

12/6/16 Calling all my readers!

It's been two months since I've written in this blog. I could offer excuse after excuse, but I won't. Instead I'll give you just one: I'm having trouble sitting for any length of time. After chronic pain for more than eight years, I'm having back surgery on January 3. Then I won't be able to sit for a short while, but hopefully I'll be back to my old self in 2-5 months. (Whether that's good or bad, I'll leave for you to decide.)

Although a little nervous about the process, I am excited to get this surgery done. I bounced back quickly from both knee replacements, and expect no less from this surgery.

My goal is to finish the first draft of Who Dies Next? by the end of the year, because I will be able to edit from a reclining position, although I can't really write like that.

Enough of being a "downer." Now for the good stuff.

  • The Work in Progress is going well, and I'm feeling good about it. 
  • The last few book signings have been successful and I'm beyond pleased.
  • The mystery anthology—Mostly Murder: Till Death is doing well and getting really good reviews. My short story, Nun of Your Business, is being mentioned as one that is enjoyable. 
  • I've got some marketing ideas that I picked up at a recent Writers' Conference. Hopeful about the ability to get the word out more successfully about my books.
  • Looking forward to starting another series about the nun in Nun of Your Business. It will be a cozy mystery series, just like Sam Darling's mysteries but will take place in a different city.
If it weren't for you loyal readers I wouldn't be so motivated to finish this book before my surgery. So thank you. And I'm confident I'll find my personal motivation again early next year—to write for the pure joy of writing.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

10/9 Progress!

I'm on Chapter 12 of Who Dies Next? This book is pretty much writing itself, although I'll still be happy to collect the royalties. :)

This is when writing is really fun for me—when I look forward to writing every day. It's a job that I love to do.

The part I don't love is taking care of all the details that come along with being an indie author. That's why I'm so happy that I have Patrice Fitzgerald of eFitzgerald Publishing to take care of those details. It frees me to do exactly what I want to do—write! Plus she really knows what she's doing.

Now, here's hoping I won't get "stuck" and that this book will continue to be a ton of fun to work on. I plan to finish it during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, so that it can get published as soon as possible. Some of my readers are already asking for the next one. I sure wish I could write full time, and then crank out books more frequently. But since I have two other part-time jobs I plan to publish two books a year, and I hope that's going to be sufficient to keep readers engaged.

Thanks a million for your support!

Monday, October 03, 2016

10/3/16 Swimmingly, that's how things are going

Working on book #7 in the Sam Darling mystery series. Who Dies Next? is making me smile. (Hmm, smiling when talking about murder is weird, I'm sure.) It has some fun new characters in it, some of whom may return later. It starts with something I don't like at all, but I couldn't stop it from happening. My characters definitely have minds of their own, and sometimes it makes me mad. Other times I love it because they sort of write the book. They just use my fingers on the keyboard.

There are some neat surprises in the story, I think. Some surprises for Sam, George, and Clancy. I hope you'll like the story as much as I do.

I've had two recent book signings, one at Quincy University and another at Panera. In both cases, I shared the table with Author Tracey Broemmer. Check her out on FB or at broemmerbooks.com. She writes women's fiction.

There are two more book signings lined up. One in early November at the ShowMeWriters Master Class at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO and the other around Christmas at the Historical Society of Quincy, IL and Adams County at the Quincy Mall. I'm sure looking forward to both of them.

For now, it's back to the work in progress. I'm anxious to find out who, what, when, where, and why!

Monday, September 05, 2016

9/5 Labor Day indeed

Today is indeed Labor Day. I have so much to do and feel like my time is limited. Am going on vacation on Wednesday and will be gone for 10 days. I hope to have some really good writing time in there, but am not sure how it will go.

But, before I go, here are my writing assignments:

1. Proof Triple Trouble Too, the second compilation of Sam's mysteries. This one contains books 4 through 6. For those who've asked, we still don't have Who's the Rogue? in paperback yet, but I'm assured it's on its way.

2. Finish reading a friend's play to give him feedback.

3. Write some more case studies for my class at QU. This class has been harder to organize for the students because the case study book is out of print. Yikes. But the students are handling the chaos well.

4. And finally, I sincerely hope I can actually write more on Who Dies Next? It's #7 in the series. I'm particularly having fun because three of my sibs inspired three of the characters in this book and their interactions with each other make me laugh each time I start writing.

While I'm gone, I need to finish reading a friend's book and write a review for Amazon.

But think on this...can you picture me sitting on the balcony of my cruise ship, writing a book? Yeah, neither can I.

Monday, August 22, 2016

8/22 Took a day off

Took a day off from writing today because I had some appointments this morning (ugh). Then I met with my trainer. After getting beaten up, I came home and had an easy day. But I'm ready to write tomorrow. I'm at a point in the story where things are happening and I'm having a ton of fun being the orchestrator of it.

I've had a few other ideas to add to the story, and that makes it even more fun. Oops, will take a break from this to write those down. I'm forgetful. Okay, I'm back. That was quick, wasn't it?

This book is a little bit different. It still has the same cast of regulars, but it starts with something sad. Then there are some very happy and surprising things that happen. And ultimately, happiness will prevail, I'm sure, because at the root of it all, the author is an optimist.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8/17 Being good...yes, I am

Reached 9400 words today, and I'm content. I could still be writing if I didn't have other jobs. I know I said this yesterday, but it bore repeating. :)

I'm excited about Who Dies Next? because it deals with people confusing good and evil, or evil disguised as good.

Flies are buzzing around me this morning on the patio. I did take a shower this morning, and Gus is clean, so it must be the food crumbs. Plus, since this is a restaurant, they can't use bug spray or anything like that.

Time to move on to my QU job. I only have to metaphorically move though, because the work is on the same computer. Yeah, life is good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

8/16 It's moving along

Up to 8500 words in Who Dies Next? If I didn't have other jobs besides writing I would keep going today. The plot seems to be flowing, and I'm enjoying the ride.

It's only Chapter 6 and I already know who one of the villains is. Yeah, I think there might be two. Or maybe more. They'll let me know as I write.

I so enjoy finding out about who is who as my fingers fly across the keyboard. One of my main flaws is that I'm always going back to fix typos. Common writing wisdom is not to edit as you write the first draft. My problem is that I'm worried I'll forget what the word was really supposed to be. So this slows me down. However, the process seems to be working for me.

This is book 7, but actually 9 when you count the two compilations. Triple Trouble Too is in process and it contains books 4 through 6: Will You Marry Me?; Where Is Henderson?; and Who's the Rogue? It's quite an exciting endeavor to see three of my books in one volume. Plus it will be a bargain!

Okay, off to work on one of my other jobs—teaching at Quincy University. Classes start on Monday and I have a lot of preparing to do. More later.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

8/11 Writing woes...

Why in the world do I read my reviews? I saw a fairly negative one recently and it brought me down. Now this was one negative one in the midst of many five-star reviews. I wonder why that one almost negates all the really good ones.

It's because I'm human I guess. I take all my reviews seriously, both good and bad. And sometimes the negative ones have something to teach me. I've actually made changes in the next book based upon something I agreed with in a few-star review.

However, I think some are just mean, and I do my best to ignore them. Or to let them roll off of me without injury.  It's a skill I'm trying to improve on. :)

In the meantime, I do want to encourage readers to keep reviewing, no matter what you have to say. Reviews are like life blood to an independent writer. We thrive on them. The more reviews, the more attention we get from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sites.

So I'll keep writing, and you keep reviewing. Please.

Monday, August 08, 2016

8/8 Writing is sometimes fun

The last few days I didn't write since I was going over the proof of the paperback of Who's the Rogue? Remember, that's part of the writing profession that doesn't produce new words, but is a necessary evil. Not evil exactly, but certainly not as fun as writing a new story. Anyway, that's now done and sent to my publisher.

Today I got to write, and produced a little more than a thousand words. Who Dies Next? (hereafter known as WDN?) now stands at 6,685 words. And I'll do more than a thousand tomorrow. I definitely want to get in the writing groove, so that it's an automatic thing to sit down each morning and write.

It's not that I don't enjoy writing, I really do. It's just that other things get in my way. Today Gus and I are volunteering at an Alzheimer's Unit and then I meet with my trainer. If I waited until after that to write, my brain would be mush already. So I do it in the morning. From 8 to about 10:30 (Central Time) I do my marketing, FaceBook, Twitter, blog, and writing. It works perfectly for me.

Then I have my other part-time jobs to do. Right now, I'm preparing for the university classes to start. I have a lot of work to do to make that happen. I only teach one class at a time, so it's fun and not a pain.

My third part-time job, as a program counselor for an international au pair agency, is something I can't schedule. I do that work as I get referrals, and it's usually fest or famine. :)

Saturday, August 06, 2016

8/5 I promise I'm writing and other stuff.

I'm more than 5,000 words into book 7. It should be more. However, I'm realizing that being an author is a lot more than just writing. Today I'm looking at a proof of the paperback of Book 6, Who's the Rogue? That has to count for something, right?

Despite that disclaimer I'm still going to get to 6,000 words today. Yes, I am. Naysayers and nonbelievers can just wait and see.

Off to proof...

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

8/3 The aftermath of my birthday

My confession. Yesterday, on my 69th birthday, I didn't write a word. Well, except to say "thank you" to my friends on FaceBook for their good wishes.  So now it's time for me to get back to work.

Except—I woke up this morning and realized my driver's license expired yesterday. Yikes.

Monday, August 01, 2016

8/1 A little more

I took off from writing yesterday (Sunday), so it's not going as fast as I'd like. However, I will get to 5,000 per week because Who Dies Next? seems to be flowing pretty well.

I'm at 3,673 today. So a few hundred short of the goal. I'll catch up in two days. Tomorrow is my birthday so I may not write. I don't like to write when I'm drunk. (Just kidding. I love it.) I probably won't really drink tomorrow, but will enjoy being totally lazy. My gift to me.

Tomorrow is my Online Birthday Bash. If you didn't get an invitation and you want one, just let me know. Two of my friends are showing LipSense (cosmetics) and LuLaRoe (clothing). I love both products a lot.

Just finished writing this morning, and am getting ready to meet with my trainer. It's a new experience for me and I'm hurting. :) However, I'm hopeful I will start to see results in a week or so.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

7/30 Writing update

Who Dies Next? (Sam Darling mystery #7) is off and running. I have more than 2,000 words written, plus I've completed the synopsis as well. I've changed my commitment to be, "I'll write at least 1,000 words per day five days per week." I realized that I'm only setting myself up if I promise to do this every single day. So that's it.

So far, so good.

And on my Wordpress blog, the Incredible Shrinking Shrinks, I've committed to see my trainer once or twice a week and then exercising in some form every day. Right now I'm doing the exercises he taught me and asked me to do. They take about a half hour to do, once a day. I'm also to do the stretches an additional time every day. Not so good on that one. But I am doing the exercises. Just need to add the extra set of stretches.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

7/27/16 A writing commitment

Okay, here it is. I'm finding it hard to make time to write. I'm distracted by family fun, swimming, FaceBook, politics, dog sitting, my own pets, omigod the list can go on and on. So I'm going to make a public commitment, like a writer friend did on FB.

I want to have the first draft of this book completed in three months (at the latest). Then it will go to my beta readers. After they quickly read it and give me advice, I'll make changes (or not) and then the manuscript will go to my publisher, who will also return it with suggestions. Again, I'll make the changes (or not) and then it's done. During this time, my small writing group (Nikki, Justin, and Beth) will be reading as I write. They not only give me support and encouragement, they always have really good suggestions (which I'll take or not...are you tired of this phrase?). Ha-ha.

So I'm trying to decide what my commitment will be. I want it to be realistic, because I know how lazy I can be. But I also want it to give me a much needed KITP (kick in the pants). Here's the deal: Starting tomorrow (yeah, I said tomorrow, not today), I will write at least 1,000 words a day. That may be 1,000 a day or 7,000 a week, but it will average to 1K a day.

I've said that since I started viewing writing as a job instead of a hobby that I've done much better. Recently, however, I've been slacking. Book 6 (Who's the Rogue?) took longer than any other book. I've still done six in three years and feel pretty good about it. I want to continue writing at least two a year and this will help me do it.

I'll report, whether the news is good or bad.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I forgot to post this. 7/13/16 One year ago today

One year ago today Quincy IL had a storm of such magnitude that we lost thousands of trees and that many homes and/or cars were damaged. There were so many homes and buildings hurt that some haven't been repaired yet. We had straight line winds that equaled a Category 1 hurricane. Amazing here in tornado country.

I keep thinking I'll put an incident like this in one of my books set in Quincy, but haven't found the right way to do it yet. I often put "real life" things in my books. For example, Book Two (Any Meat in That Soup?) had a murder take place in the ER of a hospital. It was loosely based on the Mike Swango incidents that happened many years ago. However, there was no Mike character and other things were different. Those attempted murders in real life inspired me to write of some real ones.

Other things that come from reality: The Darling siblings resemble mine in many ways. However, there are more Bozarths than Darlings. And we're more sarcastic, and dare I say more fun? We also drink more.

In several of my books there are real names of people, but those are used either at their request or I've asked permission.

In my latest book, Who's the Rogue? the leading man is named Wes Friday. Wes is actually a very talented actor in our area, and he asked if I'd use his name when I stated that I thought it would be an excellent fictional character. In that same book, the director Branson Barkley is an extremely unflattering caricature of our real director—Brandon Thomsen. What they have in common is talent, and that's about it. The real director is much kinder.

There are a few more examples, but overall my characters are not based on real people. They might be an amalgam of several or even many people—a nose here, a mannerism there, a way of speaking, many things go into creating a believable character.

Except George. Sigh. He's just the guy I want to meet. Sigh again.

Friday, July 08, 2016

7/8 Where to write?

I'm trying to write in my usual spot, with Gus, on the Panera patio. However, today it's loud with voices and trucks and sirens. It seems everything is conspiring against the muse today. So instead, I'm going to my sister's house. I swim a while, then write in the gazebo, then swim a while, then write in the gazebo, and so forth. It will be quiet, probably too quiet. I guess I can get the three dogs (including Gus) to chatter a bit so the quiet isn't deafening. At least I can try.

Chapter 2 of Who Dies Next? awaits.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

7/6 An inspiring post from Hugh Howey

So if you like science fiction at all, you know who Hugh Howey is. I love his work. And I admire him as a human too. His recent blog post inspired me to think more deeply about what I do with my plots. As you know, if you've read my blog before, I observe people and situations, I eavesdrop (yes, I do), I look at billboards, I read articles, whatever—and that's how the germ of an idea comes to me. Then I add the "what if..." or someone gives that to me. In Can You Picture This? a friend on the Panera patio said, "Yeah, Jer. What if that paparazzi guy rides a bicycle instead of a motorcycle or driving a car?" And off I went. (Yes, I credited him in the Acknowledgements. Didn't I, Joe?)

Anyway, Hugh's post reminded me that I ought to go a step farther. Yeah, it's funny that the dude rides a bicycle and tries to take photos. What else could be broken? Well, in that book the guy uses a Polaroid camera. That brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. And there was one other thing that I could break, and I did. But of course I can't reveal that because I want you to read the book. (It's book 3 in the Sam Darling mystery series.)

So as I sit here, thinking about book 7 (Who Dies Next?), I'm going to apply some of Hugh's ideas to the book. What idea can I take, break it, then break it again. We'll see how it works. (It worked accidentally in Can You Picture This? Now, I want to make it work on purpose.)

Hugh was talking about science fiction. I think the same ideas apply to cozy mysteries.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

7/5 Time flies (or has that been said before?)

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I've posted. So many neat things are happening on the writing front. Who's the Rogue? is in Australia in the capable hands of Jason, our formatter at Polgarus Studios. Keri Knutson has designed a gorgeous cover of a lovely home in Quincy. This cover is my favorite, hands down.

I'm working on Book 7. We just came up with the title yesterday—Who Dies Next? Normally titles are easy for me and I come up with them in a snap. However, since I have some requirements—namely, it must be a question, it must be short, and it must be relevant to the story—it's become a little more difficult. So for the first time, my brilliant publisher came up with this title, after I gave her some ideas. I think Who Dies Next? fits the criteria very well.

Triple Trouble is out in paperback and ebook format. And very soon it'll be on SALE in a big way. This book is nearly 700 pages, with three of my books in it. The first three books in the Sam Darling mysteries. From July 23 until August 1, the ebook for Triple Trouble will be on sale for only 99 cents. It's an amazing deal. I sure hope people take advantage of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

6/12 Good things happening

Who's the Rogue? is at my publisher. Triple Trouble is out electronically, and will be out in paperback soon. Where Is Henderson? will soon be out in paperback.

So I'm going to set up another book signing at Panera very soon. I've been invited to speak on a panel at Leadership Illinois in July. And I'll be signing books at the Quincy University homecoming in September. I'm feeling pretty motivated by all this movement.

So it's time to start writing #7, tentatively titled Shall We Move?

Thanks so much for buying my books and reviewing them. Both things mean so much. We indi writers live and die by our reviews. So I hope you continue writing them.

Here we go again....

Gosh, I love writing books!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

5/18 Home from the hills

After five days and four nights on a writing retreat at Snowmass, Colorado, I've returned home. The retreat, at a Trappist Monastery, was successful in many ways. Certainly spiritually. However, it was even more successful writing-wise. The first draft of Book Six is finished and in the hands of my beta readers, and I wrote a short story for a mystery anthology coming out in the summer or fall. (I'll post more about that later.)

Who's the Rogue? (Book 6) is well on its way to being in your hands.

Also, Triple Trouble is very close to being published. I have the formatted version in my hands. Then it will be ready. I'm thrilled about this, since it has a special short story inside as a gift. So in Triple Trouble readers will get the first three Sam Darling mysteries as well as a short story about Sam and George's Prom fiasco in high school.

Writing in a gorgeous hermitage, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains is inspiring. It's also surprisingly easy since there's no WiFi and no cell phone reception. Amazing what I can accomplish when not tempted by the Internet, phone calls, and texts.

Still haven't unpacked, so more later...

(This is misplaced in my list of posts, because it sat here in draft. Guess I forgot to hit Publish. Also I guess I have more in common with Sam Darling than I thought.)

5/29/16 My daughter's birthday and an editing day

So my daughter's birthday is today, and I'm smiling about that. However, what doesn't make me smile is that she's thousands of miles away. I wish her much joy and happiness, as always.

As for the editing part. Well, Whose the Rogue? is due to my publisher by June 1, and I'm gathering comments from my beta readers and will incorporate some of them. Gosh, I love smart people. My beta readers are smart in different ways, but they sure know how to catch my inconsistencies. One of the many reasons I love them.

So there's that.

Also, I want to start thinking about/working on Book #7. I love the start of the process, with a blank canvas, as it were. I know what the book's about, but don't know who is killed and who did it. That's part of the fun for me, discovering the victim and the villain(s) as I write. So far, this process has worked well for me.

To hear first about my new books, sign up at http://eepurl.com/z30jv. Your email will never be made public and you can opt out at any time. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

5/8/16 Mothers' Day and Writing

I'm so excited because two more of my books are in print (as well as being e-books). Can You Picture This? and Will You Marry Me? are in print as of this weekend. Many of you have enjoyed the books electronically, but a lot of readers prefer to hold a book in their hands. That's why I'm so happy about this.

And my fifth book (Where Is Henderson?) will have a print version shortly.

On this Mothers' Day, I'm sitting here feeling incredibly grateful that I'm a Mom and also grateful that I got to fulfill other dreams (besides parenthood). My dreams included being a writer. I am living proof that dreams can come true, even in your 60s.

Go to http://www.amazon.com/Jerilyn-Dufresne/e/B00HK36AUO/ to see all my books, both electronic and print.

Thanks so much for reading. If you keep reading, I'll keep writing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

2/17/16 The character versus the author

Some people compare my character, Sam Darling, with me. That's because she and I share many similar traits. However, I think she's much nicer than I am. When my friends say, "In book three you...," I have to remind them that it's Samantha and not I who did such and such.

When I began the first book (begun in 1995, published in 2012) I didn't have any experience in writing books. I'd written shorter works all my life, but never a book-length project. So I did what most new writers do—I made everything too autobiographical. So I did a lot of editing on that first book and I changed a lot. There are now 6 Darling sibs instead of 9. (Nine sibs in my family.) Sam's first name was changed from Jan to Sam. (JD are my initials and I didn't want the character to have the same initials as I.) There were more things I edited as well.

What Sam and I do share are a natural curiosity about everything. And I do mean everything. I ask questions all the time, and have done that since I was very small. And I honestly don't mean to be intrusive, I am just overly curious. The big difference is that I would never look in someone's medicine cabinet or search through drawers without permission. Sam would do it without blinking.

She and I share an inability to tell a lie very well. I choose not to lie, and that has caused problems in my life. She blushes when she lies. However in the later books she's become quite good at it.

Sam is not a good housekeeper. Me either.

Sam holds a grudge. I don't. (In fact, she's a professional at it.)

She's a smart-ass. And I have to confess that I am too.

She's in love with love. Me: Guilty as charged.

She doesn't have a lot of close friends outside her family. Me either. I've always had a ton of sibs in my life, and very few close friends. When I've lived away from Quincy, I developed more friends because I didn't have my sibs close by.

That's all I can think of off the cuff.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

2/13/16 I answered a friend's question

My friend, Kimberly Shursen, asked people about how they get their ideas. She also asked other questions, but that's the one that stuck with me. By the way, she's a wonderful thriller writer and I suggest you check out her books on Amazon or else on her website kimberlyshursen.com.

Anyway, my response on her blog was so long that I thought it would make a blog entry on my site. So here it is:

I really enjoyed your post, Kimberly, and also enjoy your thrillers immensely. As you know, I write different types of books. Mine are called cozy mysteries. I am working on number six right now. Where do I get my ideas? From people. From conversations I've overheard. From questions I've asked. One whole book was totally conceived on the patio of a Panera Bread Company when a friend said, "Wouldn't it be funny if...?" And we went off on a riff that gave life to one of my favorite works. (Note: That book is Can You Picture This?) I write mostly at Panera and that's because I'm an extrovert and get energy from people. At home I have a hard time writing even though I have a great office.

So in the summer I'm on the patio there and in the winter I'm ensconced in booth number 2, from 8 to 11 AM. I call them my office hours.

My characters tell me the plot. When I start I have a general idea, like right now--my book Who's the Rogue? started when I was in a play at our community theatre and noticed there were some dark areas and also that the basement was a little scary at times. I thought, "What if a murder would happen there? How would that be able to happen?" I didn't want to make it the stereotypical theater murder where a sandbag falls on someone's head or a real gun is substituted for the fake one. So I came up with another idea. Then a friend asked me if I'd use his name in a book. And voila'! Wes Friday is the Broadway star brought to my hometown to star in a show. And so it goes....

Wow. Sorry this is so long, Kimberly. Your questions inspired me. I'm going to copy and paste it to my blog. :)

So, do you have any questions for me about writing? Either my writing or writing in general? I'm certainly not the foremost expert on writing, but I do know a thing or two.