Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Next Step

I’m working on some tasks for my new publisher, including getting signed permission letters from certain corporations and organizations I use in my upcoming novel, With Full Malice. Some are generous with permissions while others drag their feet.

But Denny’s Corporation is wonderful. Not only are their restaurants convenient – open twenty-four hours, which is great for night owls like me – and have a variety of choices on their menu, but their corporate officers are willing to listen and lend support when they can.

Yea, Denny’s!

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Writing Well

I just watched a good movie, The Outsider, on the Hallmark channel. I love movies and books, and when I see or read a special one, I think about it long afterward.

That’s how I feel about this movie. It was made in 2002 and only had a handful of actors, focusing on a Montana widow, her son, and the outsider, an injured gunslinger who makes his way to her homestead. But it was the acting that got to me and held me to the end, through the maddening commercials, the irritating graphics Hallmark inserts on the bottom of the screen. The woman, Naomi Watts, becomes a widow early in the movie, and a short time later, the gunslinger, Tim Daly, staggers onto her property.

Even though they’re from two different worlds—she’s a Quaker, or Amish, not sure which one, although I believe the group referred to themselves as the Plains—they battle the growing attraction between them. They only touch twice, once about three-fourths of the way in, and the other near the ending, but it was the looks, the expressions they each had when speaking to the other that told their true feelings.

As a writer, it’s that kind of mastery in my craft I’m hoping to one day achieve, to be able to touch a reader the way I was touched by the actors in this movie. And they did it without all the groping and innuendos that are so prevalent today. If I can accomplish that kind of emotion in my writing, then I’ll know I’ve achieved success.

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The Edits

I’m already wondering what my editor will want to change/edit/revise. I’m hoping it won’t be much, but on the other hand I’m open to a good editor’s suggestions to make the story better.

I remember reading years ago in The Writer’s Digest how a writer was stunned when the editor returned his manuscript. He said it ‘bled all over,’ or something like that. I’m hoping mine won’t be too severe, but I’ll find out soon.

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The Publishing Process

For some reason, my latest post has disappeared. I probably hit the wrong key or did one of those little things that zap my carefully composed words into the next galaxy.

I did receive an offer for my novel, which I accepted quickly before they changed their minds. Those book fairies are powerful creatures, because not thirty minutes after I tempted them with cookies, I received THE CALL. Thomson-Gale bought With Full Malice and will publish it in their 5 Star Mystery line, tentatively scheduled for publication in March, 2012.

I’ve been asked about the process, so I said I’d post updates. Here’s the latest:

I heard from my new editor today. She introduced herself and said she’d be starting work on my manuscript soon. Also sent instructions for a photo – if I want one included. Looks like they don’t waste time. Now I only have to lose fifty pounds in the next month so I won’t have chipmunk cheeks for my nice new novel.

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Waiting is Murder on Nerves

It’s been nearly four months since I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and I still haven’t received a yea or nay.

“Write another novel,” they say.

Sure thing.

I’m trying, but one eye and both ears are glued to that little icon and the ding from my inbox, and each time a new message appears, my heart squeezes until I can barely breathe. Is it THEM? If so, do I want to read it? Of course I do, but as each writer knows, especially the ones like me who aren’t established on the national market, it also brings terror. What if it’s a rejection? What then?

Oh, I’ve handled rejections before. During the years I was first learning the mechanics of fiction writing, they nearly debilitated me. Worse, no one explained the couple of scribbled lines that said they didn’t want  my work, so I was left wondering. Why the rejection? What was wrong? Was it the story? My writing? All I could do was study more, try to learn more, and write more. A lot more.

Now, several years later, I’ve had a couple of novels published with a small indie and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my short story in a national magazine. I wrote features and restaurant reviews for my So Cal newspaper, but my passion is for the novel, so I spent most of last year cocooned in to write my latest, a mystery/thriller, With Full Malice. When I wasn’t home writing, I interviewed professionals – a police sergeant, EMTs, a newspaper editor, and did a lot of research. And finally, after a year, my masterpiece was complete.

Then came the edits, edits, and more edits, then the submissions.

After a respectable length of time, the publisher wrote back saying, “Your novel has successfully passed the first round of reviews, now we wait for the final word.”

That was over a month ago.

I think I’ve stalled on the new novel, but I’m trying. It was a lot easier to write when my attention wasn’t always on the Inbox. And it doesn’t help to write on my other computer, the one not connected to the Internet. I just wander back to my desk to check – again and again.

So. While I know it takes time to review a manuscript, especially with all the submissions today, I wish some magical book fairy would come to my rescue and tell me my latest would be published. Oh, how I wish that were possible. I believe, oh yes I believe in book fairies. Maybe she’ll head my way if I tempt her with cookies. Chocolate chip? Sugar? Ok, I’ll bring out the big guns: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies.

Is that a ding I heard? Yes! It’s the Inbox icon. Is it them?

With Full Malice:

When a shortage of reporters forces traumatized restaurant reviewer Madison Young to cover an execution-style murder in her quiet California town below Big Bear, she has no idea her life is about to change. Reluctantly interviewing a witness, she jots down one word, one seemingly insignificant word that will link to a chain of murders across the country, and to a secret society, a vast and deadly organization that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets. She traces clues, shocked when they reveal a connection to the man who slaughtered her parents, horrified when the evidence leads to her own grandmother, the gentle woman who raised her after her parents were murdered.

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New Low Price

My contracts with my publisher expired, so now two of my novels are offered with new covers, new ebook formats, and best of all, new low prices. Now available on Smashwords @ $.99 each:

Beyond the Quiet – Smashwords, click here:

After twenty-five years of marriage, Lisa Montgomery thinks her husband’s death is the worst that can happen. A month later, she pushes herself out of bed, dresses and even makes plans to move near her daughter. Then she receives a notice about her husband’s secret post office box.

Beyond the Quiet shares the story of one woman’s struggle though bitterness, loss, and betrayal, learning to cherish each moment and follow her long-buried dreams. It’s the story of how a quiet, passionless widow becomes spirited enough to climb onto her lover’s shoulders for a piggyback ride in the nude.

Coffee Time Romance  Reviewer’s Award

Top Ten in the Preditors & Editors readers poll 2009

Ten Times Guilty – Smashwords, click here:

. . .  about a single mother’s struggle for worth after a vicious attack. It’s about a police sergeant seeking redemption for a crime he didn’t realize he had committed – until the victim died.

“Hill mesmerizes with the horrific details of rape, self-blame and the will to live.  Tracy’s tale speaks for all victims who have been brutalized and fought back.  It also speaks for those who suffered and died without ever seeing their attacker brought to justice.  A compelling tale of pain, courage and hope.”

Romantic Time Book Reviews

Plot Your Way to Publication, click here:

A step-by-step method for building a successful storyline, my plotting book also available in an ebook format at a new low price. It still includes the easy one-page chart templates I designed to show you how to structure your story for the best dramatic effect. Not only do I explain structure, I give examples of critical scenes and turning points and show you exactly where they should be placed for the best dramatic effect. I even list the scenes I created in two of my novels, Ten Times Guilty and Beyond the Quiet, on my plotting charts as illustrations to show you where I placed them and why.

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