Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In the Mind of a Killer

Subtitle: Physician, heal thyself

For over two weeks, I’ve been working on the edits on the next Zoe Chambers mystery (No Way Home). And for two weeks, “working” has looked a lot like staring at printed-out pages. Or staring into space. There are problems that need addressed. But how?

About a week into my staring, I had something of an epiphany. Not about a fix. But about the source of my problems. I’d left out one very important step in my process.

I teach a workshop on villains and antagonists (not necessarily the same thing, by the way). Part of the workshop involves getting the villain’s story and backstory written down. This is stuff that won’t end up in the book. But it’s stuff that directs what ends up in the book. It’s the unseen action that drives the story.

And it can be a lot of fun. Since this is stuff that isn’t going into the book, it can be truly terrible. No one but the author is going to read it. No one is going to edit it, critique it, or otherwise make the author “fix” it. And getting inside a villain’s head can be therapeutic. We can drop the veneer of politeness and etiquette that we try to carry around in society.


Anyhow, I’d left this step out. I had no idea where my villain was or what he was doing. Or why.

Why is a big one. What motivated him to do such-and-such? The author (me, in this case) needs to know! And sort of knowing isn’t enough.

So today, I’ve crawled into the mind of a killer. The stuff that’s showing up on the page is creepy. And enlightening.

And I think I’ve solved the story problems my editor pointed out to me. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Country Living

Our "farm" isn't really a "working" farm any more. I miss the horses. A lot. I even miss the neighbor's %#*$ing bull bellowing outside our bedroom window at daybreak. But it's summer and there are moments when I'm reminded we're definitely out in the country.

Like when I hear the plaintive cries of coyotes wafting through that bedroom window in the middle of the night.

And in spite of those coyotes, we have a whole family (several generations, at the moment) of rabbits living in and around our yard. I call them the Bun family. Mr. Bun, Mrs. Bun and babies. Bigger babies (the teenagers?) and wee babies (second crop of the year).
 They're not very spooky and pose for photographs almost daily.

Our grand-nephew has bought my mom's house and is the sixth generation to live on this farm. Sort of. No one in the fifth generation ever resided here. But he's embracing his newfound farmer status.

He especially embraces his great-great grandfather's Farmall. Big boy toy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A New Blogging Start

Once again, I fell off the blogging wagon. And once again, I'm determined to start anew. Posts may be short, but hopefully, they'll be a lot more frequent.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Giveaway

My publisher, the fabulous Henery Press, is offering another copy of With a Vengeance for a Goodreads Giveaway! Click here to enter.

By the way, I've been told, the pre-ordered print copies are starting to ship! Yay!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Congratulations Winners!

Congratulations to Judy Kendzierski and Alyson Widen, the two winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! Your signed Advanced Reader Copies will be in the mail before the end of the week!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway!

Click the link to the right for a chance to win a signed Advanced Reader Copy of With a Vengeance!

Friday, February 05, 2016

News Flash: BRIDGES BURNED nominated for an Agatha!

Last Saturday, I'd spent a wonderful day out with my writing buddies of our local Sisters in Crime chapter. We met for lunch and conversation at Chelsea Grille in Oakmont before walking across the street to Mystery Lovers Bookshop for our business meeting. The weather was lovely. We had a great turnout. I was re-elected as vice president.

When I came home, I noticed the light blinking on our answering machine. I expected a hangup or a telemarketing computer-generated voice, which is about all we receive on our landline any more. Instead there was a real, live person stating she was from Malice Domestic and could I please call her back.

Malice Domestic?

Last year, I'd received a similar call congratulating me for having my novel, Circle of Influence nominated for an Agatha for Best First. But that was last year. I knew it couldn't possibly be anything like that this time. They probably needed to confirm something with my registration.

Still, my hands shook so bad, I had to dial the number TWICE. "Hi," I said. "This is Annette Dashofy returning your call."

I don't really know what she said. I picked out certain words and blanked on the rest. Basically she congratulated me because Bridges Burned had been nominated for an Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

I hope I made sense in my reply. I don't think I screamed. I think I faked being professional but very very (VERY) happy.

In fact, I was delirious. And in shock. I never ever in a million years expected another nomination. I mean, I was in the BIG pond now. This is a category frequented by my idols and role models. My favorite authors. Hank Phillippi Ryan. Margaret Maron. Lousie Penny.

Last year after the Best First nomination phone call, I hung up and squealed. And happy danced. Hubby thought I was nuts. Well, okay. He already knows I am. Never mind.

This year after I hung up, I walked slowly up to Hubby who had no idea what was going on. I threw my arms around him and broke into tears as I told him. This year, Hubby's a little more savvy about what these things mean. He held me while I cried. And I think he smiled.

I was sworn to secrecy for a few days while the other nominees were notified. Thank heavens they called my home phone. Had I received that call on my cell phone in the middle of the meeting and been told to keep it quiet, I'd have imploded.

So here we go again! My expectations are decided low. Besides Hank, Margaret, and Louise, I'm sharing the nomination with Catriona McPherson whom I adore and admire and whose books I love. I plan to go along for the ride, breathe the rarefied air of being in the company of the elite.

Thanks to all who nominated me. I'll try to act respectable. I know I'm deeply honored.