Bau: Let me Know When It’s Over

My Doggy Mom is still working on her book. Because she wants to change the title I am forced to endure hours lying next to her as she keeps searching for a suitable one. It’s enough to put a dog to sleep. I wonder if she spent that much time searching for my name.

Doggy Mom: Well, in fact, it was easier. You are of French origin and I wanted you to have a literary name.

Bau: As if I can read French!

Doggy Mom: I thought of Hugo, as in Victor Hugo, but I didn’t think that my daughter’s friend, Hugo, would appreciate me naming you after him.

Bau: He should have been honored.

Doggy Mom: So, anyway there was Baudelaire but that was too long. So I shortened it to Bau. Here in Montreal where almost everyone speaks French, when they ask what your name is, they think I mean Beau, which means handsome.

Bau: Oh, I quite like that!

Doggy Mom: Fits you perfectly. Anyway back to my book title.

Bau: Oh yeah (Yawn, Yawn). What was wrong with The Set Up? Lots of books have that title.

Doggy Mom: That’s the problem. I don’t want my book to get lost in the slush pile.

Bau: If that’s the case, you should have checked before wasting my time.

Doggy Mom: You’re right. Learn from my mistakes. Also the title gives the story plot away.

Bau: What about the cover?

Doggy Mom: Finally, I found what I was looking for. Now, I’m just waiting for the graphic designer to get back to me. Could be a few weeks. Of course there’s going to be the extra headache of formatting my book to fit Amazon standards.

Bau: Oh, boy! I think I’m going to go for a nap. Wake me when it’s over.

Bau: Can We Go For A Long Walk Now?

My Human Mom tells me that there are a lot of steps she still needs to do before she’s ready to publish her new novel.

Here are some things which I secretly know about it:

It’s a Domestic Crime Novel (Apparently that’s her favorite type of crime novel along with Domestic Noir novels).

She tells me because there is a Femme Fatale in her novel it might also be categorized as Domestic Noir.

She’s likely going to launch it in May (That’s a long time in doggy days). That’s if all goes well!

The title is The Set Up.

Here’s a tentative blurb for it:

Homeless sixteen-year-old Maya has found the perfect summer job – getting a cottage ready to serve as a half-way house to delinquent girls. A summer job where she won’t have to wonder where she’s going to sleep for a while. Being by the lake in nature will give her time to grieve the death of her mother. Best of all, she’s met Charlie, the boy who lives in the cottage next door who gives her the attention she craves and the promise of a bright future if she sticks with him. But Charlie has a very dark side and Maya becomes involved in a murderous scheme. What will happen to Maya now that she is being blamed for the murder by the police? Who can possibly help her?

I love to listen to my Human Mom read her manuscript out loud, but honestly, I’m disappointed because I’m not even in it!

In the meantime, you might want to have a look at my Human Mom’s other books on her author page. (Every time you click on one of her books I get a treat).

Toni Pike: Desolation Bluff

I recently came across a post on Derek Murphy’s website titled Best Self-Publishing Companies for Indie Authors (that aren’t scams).

You can go to his website to read the entire post (which I found interesting and informative). Since this is a post about Toni Pike’s novel Desolation Bluff I want to draw your attention to a section of Derek Murphy’s post that I find fits perfectly with Toni Pike’s novel.

When you put your book cover, your hook, tagline or teaser in front of the right readership, they understand it’s the kind of book they enjoy reading. The benefits are obvious. They click on the cover and read the blurb. Sounds good. They check out the reviews. If they trust the positive ones, they’ll consider buying it and check the price.

Cover

 Blurb

Reviews

 Price

COVER AND BLURB

Blind romance author Oliver Cameron uses the pen name of Fidel Amore and thinks he has the perfect life at his country estate near Desolation Bluff. After a honeymoon in Paris, his wife Vanessa continues her work as his assistant. His friend Ray is the business manager who lives in the gatehouse and also acts as the public face of Fidel Amore, doing all those book-signing trips that Oliver never wanted to attend. Helen Dunkley is the housekeeper devoted to him since childhood – but she detests the two newcomers.

Complications set in when Ray, working on his old car, accidentally backs into Oliver. His injuries appear minor but the next day he suddenly regains his sight. Oliver wants Ray and Vanessa to be the first to hear his good news, but when he finds them he uncovers a shocking betrayal.
A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly.

A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

REVIEWS

More than 30 reviews on Goodreads . Most of them 5 Stars. Here are some of them:

Fast moving and suspenseful from start to finish (Peter Springer)

Packed with Suspense and Action (Sally Cramer)

Quickly engaging and a page flipper (Terri Schrandt)

From the first paragraph, I could sense something ominous in the atmosphere, which stayed all through the background (Sherry H.)

This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read with interesting characters and great plot twist to keep me hooked all the way through to a most satisfying ending!  (D.G. Kaye)

PRICE

$2.99 Canadian which is pretty inexpensive for three and a half hours of enjoyable entertainment.

As for the content, I was not disappointed. The cover, blurb and reviews delivered. It was a fun ride where justice is rendered by a shrewd blind man who accidently regains his sight and discovers that his wife is engaged in a love affair with his assistant. A story of betrayal between good and bad. Definitely a page turner.

Noir Fiction’s “little black dress”.

Comparables: Where Does Your Book Fit In?

Not too long ago dgkayewriter  posted on her noteworthy blog a link to the app (I Write Like) which, when you paste a paragraph of your writing, the app compares you to famous writers by analyzing your word choice and writing style.

That amusing exercise got me thinking of comparables. Whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction, self-publishing or going the tradition route, comparables (comps) help the reader and book seller know where your book fits in. Knowing your comps will help you know where your niche is in the marketplace.

Where would your book be placed in a book store or library and within that category whose books would you compare yours to?

Michael Dellert, an award winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years posted an interesting article on comparables.

What makes YOUR book stand out?

Publishers and agents generally want to see “comparables”: other fiction books on the market today that have an audience comparable to yours, that have themes, settings, and characters comparable to yours, that have a market niche comparable to yours, and then they want to know what sets your book apart from those.

Editor Rachelle Gardner in a post titled Know Your Competition adresses the question of comps:

Search for possible competitive or comparable books using a variety of means; don’t limit yourself to one particular search term or one method. Go deeper than the titles to make sure you’re not missing anything. Search on various websites besides Amazon. If you’re writing a Christian book, use Christianbook.com.

And in another article on comps Rachel Gardener offers this advice:

Ask yourself, “Who are my readers? What are they reading right now?” Those are your comparable books.

Keep this line in mind:
“People who enjoy the following books are likely to enjoy my book.”

You can use that line in a proposal, then follow it with the comparable books, and for each one, a brief explanation of why your book would appeal to those same readers. This approach frees you from trying to decipher what an agent is looking for, and instead, use those comps to identify your audience.

It’s tricky finding comparables. For example, in my crime novel Warning Signs the protagonist finds herself in a relationship with a serial killer. The detective investigating the serial killer’s crimes has a romance going with a suspect. Taking those two important elements of the novel do I compare my novel with those which have serial killers in them or do I compare it to stories about romance? Warning Signs also deals with mental illness so should I compare the novel with other novels dealing with mental illness? Or do I compare it to a noir novel?

Here are some comps I found for Warning Signs. People who enjoyed these books are likely to enjoy Warning Signs.

The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner (What would you do if the man of your dreams hides the soul of a killer?).

The Last Victim by Karen Robards ( Obsessed with learning what makes human monsters commit terrible crimes).

A Good Marriage by Stephen King (a wife who discovers that her husband is a serial killer). Incidentally, when I took the I Write like Who the result was Stephen King.

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thomson (a pitch-black glimpse into the mind of the American Serial Killer).

The Lies He Told Me by Sylvie Greyson (a police detective falls in love with his main suspect).

The Fix by Sharon Leder (Living with a Heroin Addicted Parent).

 

Warning Signs is now available in paperback as well as e-book.

Q and A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Carol Balawyder – Warning Signs #Thriller

I am so lucky to have been invited to D.G. Kaye’s blog. In case you are unfamiliar with her you are missing out on someone whose blog is versatile, useful and always interesting. She is a great supporter of writers (Indie and other), provides a panoply of writing and blogging tips, writes about her amusing travel adventures and is very outspoken about things she does not agree with. In short, she is a person who cares.

She is also the author of several memoirs, all of which are worth your time in reading. I have read everyone of them and have laughed, been provoked and become tearful at times. She is that kind of eclectic writer that digs deep into your emotional roots.

Thank you, Debby, for sharing your blog with me today. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. ❤

 

Source: Q and A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Carol Balawyder – Warning Signs #Thriller

Blogger Recognition Award

 

Blogger recognition award

Award Plaque by Sally Cronin

Thank you to D.G. Kaye at dgkayewriter  for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

With each award there are rules of courtesy to follow. Here are the rules:

Rules:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How my blog got started

This was one of my first posts on a blog I named A Girl Called Brenda.

Posted on July 24, 2010

Writer: A Profession Like No Other

Brenda had just completed all the revisions on her novel. She’d been working steadily on it for three and a half years and now it was finished. She had sent her synopsis to a publishing house and the editor now asked to see her manuscript. She felt elated.
The next morning her sister called. “I’m having a bar-b-q for the family,” she said. “Do you want to come?”
“Guess what?” Brenda said, “I’ve finished my novel.”

“That’s nice,” her sister said. “What do you want to bring?”
“I’ve got a publisher and I’m sending it this morning to the editor.”
“Bring potato salad. Our mother’s recipe.”
At the bar-b-q Brenda placed her potato salad on the table and took off the plastic wrap over it. Her aunt who was standing next to her said, “How have you been, dear?’
“I’ve just sent out a manuscript to a publisher.”
“It’s nice to have a hobby,” her aunt said. “Your potato salad looks good. Is that your mother’s recipe?”
Then a cousin whom she hadn’t seen in a long time spotted her. “Hey,” he said, “How it do, Brendy? Long time no see.”
There were reasons for that, Brenda thought but was keeping them to herself. No sense ruining her sister’s bar-b-q. “Yeah, well, I’ve been busy writing my crime novel. I sent it out yesterday.”
“No shit, Sherlock. I always thought I could write a novel. Can’t be too difficult. I’ve got a few crazy tales up here myself,” he said pointing to his head.
“I bet,” Brenda said. “Excuse me,” she told her cousin, “I have to talk to grandma.”
“I heard you say that you finished your manuscript,” her grandmother told her.
At last, someone in her family was taking an interest in her writing.
“I did, grandma,” Brenda said glowing. “Three and a half years and I finally sent it out.”
“Oh my, how many pages is it?” her grandmother asked her.
“Five hundred and thirty,” Brenda said. “Double spaced.”
Her grandmother’s face lit up. “Do you have any ruined sheets?”
“What do you mean?”
“I just thought that maybe if you had any extra pages that didn’t come out you can give them to me to line my budgie’s cage. Newspaper is so messy.”

It was also on this blog that I posted my Ten Great First Dates series which I eventually migrated to my current blog and shut down A Girl Called Brenda.

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers:

  1. Check out all the WordPress Tutorials for beginners on YouTube. There’s lots of easy to follow advice.
  2.  Remember that you are not the only one who bloggers are reading so be efficient. Avoid Anna Karenina length posts on your blog. Short and sweet is better than seemingly endless.

I’ve chosen to nominate some new bloggers I’ve discovered whose blogs are inspiring, positive and beautiful.

Lost in Nowhere  

Pups&Prose

Site Title: Pictures

Show Pictures  

Ideal Inspiration

Aria-Bela Rises  

Debby

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/signote/

 

 

 

Daffodils

Daffodils are my favorite flower. Last fall I planted dozens of daffodil bulbs at my family grave. Today, when I went to check on the daffodils I was delighted to find a host of golden daffodils lighting up the aisle.

I picked enough for a bouquet and left the rest behind for joy and beauty.

daffodils-e1526863346678.jpg

 

Here’s William Wordsworth’s famous poem on daffodils: 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wishing you all a joyous weekend. 

 

Free Online Crime Writing Course

How to write crime fiction

Just thought I’d pass this along:

Free Webinar on how to write a crime novel presented by The Writers’ Academy at Penguin-Random House.  Thursday March 29.

It sounds interesting. 

Here’s more info: 

http://www.course-enquiry.com/webmail/107002/360067594/c40d1da3646c3c2495bd94d88c24286b5b903de9a8966d1b7ddcab0276647878

Using a Pen Name

Do you write under a pen name? And if so, why?

An article in Writer’s Relief  lists reasons why writers choose to adopt pen names. It could be, as they point out, that another author “owns” your name. For example, it would be difficult for someone named Agatha Christie to write under her real name.

Or, as a high school teacher who writes erotica, you’d want to conceal your identity. I hope.

Or maybe, you write in a genre that has basically a male audience and you are a woman. Joanne Rowling used the initials J.K. (K after her grandmother Katherine) because she feared that boys would not want to read Harry Potter if it was written by (horror!) a girl.  Similarly, Mary Ann Evans used a male name because she wanted to be taken seriously and wrote under the name of George Eliot. Of course, that was in the 1860’s and that doesn’t happen anymore, right?

Should you be interested in using a pen name you might want to consult Ellen Sedwick’s Self-Publishers Legal handbook for the legal aspects on using a pen name .

Here are some well known pen names:

Amanda Cross: Carolyn Gold Heilbrun

Isak Dinesen: Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke

Ann Rice: Howard Allen Frances O’Brien

John le Carré: David Cornwell

And pen names that hide more famous real names:

Rosamond Smith: Joyce Carol Oates

Richard Backman: Stephen King

And there are authors who write under several pen names.

 

Kathryne layne               A Hint of Scandle 2

 

 

 

 

 

upon-your-love-final-cover    Heather Crouse

Click to read an excerpt from Marie Lavender’s latest book.

What are your thoughts on a pen name for yourself?

 

 

 

Back in the Groove

Two things have been happening since my last blog post eons ago.

Number 1

I moved.

Moving is much like doing a major spring cleaning of every room in your house. Every nook and cranny and every spec of dust. In a way, it was very liberating and made me practice minimalism. It struck me as incredible and depressing to see how much stuff I’d accumulated throughout the years.

I moved into a smaller apartment and so I needed to downsize and trim my possessions. I still haven’t been able to let go of a small beige colored handbag which I haven’t used in years but it used to belong to my mother. What am I holding unto?

And then there was the move itself during Montreal’s heaviest snowstorm of the season!

beach-84631_960_720

Source

Oops! Sorry, wrong photo!

montreal-que-march-15-2017-sq-officers-on-snowmobile3

Source

My poor dog, Bau, didn’t at all like the move.

Wake me when it’s over!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Number 2

The second reason why I haven’t been posting on my blog is that I had nothing to say.

Then, I received an e-mail from Thelma Mariano, the editor of my women’s fiction novels:

New Picture (9)  balawydermissisdatingadventures  cafe paradise a  Not by Design

Thelma was recently interviewed by Duke Diercks where, along with 12 other editors, was asked this question:

What is the #1 mistake that you see first-time authors make?

 Here’s part of her answer:

 Most first-time novelists underestimate the amount of work required to bring their completed draft to a publishable level. This leads to what I believe is the #1 problem with early manuscripts: a lack of story tension.

If we lack a “story-worthy” problem, something strong enough to pull a reader through hundreds of pages, needing to know what happens next, no amount of editing will make it better.

Click here to read more on Thelma’s answer

and here on the editing process