Friday, August 29, 2014

FAQ: Writing Inspiration

Frequently Asked Questions
From GoodReads: My Writing Inspiration 

In this week's episode of the Frequently Asked Questions series, I share my response to a question I recently answered on GoodReads.

How do you get inspired to write?

I get story and character ideas from everywhere--books, friends, TV, coworkers, life experiences, the news, standing in line at the coffee shop. Ideas stem from the "What if?" question. What if this character had these qualities? What if this event happened to these people at this time? What if this character crossed paths with that character? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Deleted Scene: "The Trouble with Murder"

Deleted Scene: The Trouble with Murder

This is a deleted scene from The Trouble with Murder. It was part of the second draft of the story, and ultimately cut in a second round of editing. In that draft, this was the interaction between Zoe and Ellmann in which he asks her about pressing charges against her mother. In the final version, this scene takes place at Zoe's mother's house, the day after she has moved out. The night before, she picks Zach up from the drunk driving incident in Old Town, then, too tired to drive home, she crashes on the couch. Ellmann wakes her when he drops by the next morning.

Here's the original scene:

The following morning, I awoke naturally just after ten. I rolled onto my back and lay listening to the precious silence of the empty house. Smiling, I got out of bed and padded, naked, to the bathroom. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On The Road: Capulin Volcano National Monument

A view of the volcano from the road. As
expected, it's quite hard to miss.
On The Road: Capulin Volcano National Monument

Capulin Volcano National Monument is about thirty miles east of Raton, New Mexico, and about three miles north of Capulin, New Mexico. Capulin, Spanish for chokecherry, is one of nine volcanoes in the Raton-Clayton area. 

The Monument

The attraction here is the paved trail that rings the top of the volcano. It's about a mile-long hike with impressive views--or so I read in the brochure. I arrived just before closing; I didn't have time to do the hike before the ranger came up and started shooing us all out. There is a much shorter trail that leads down into the volcano's center. I did this one first and made it back up just as the ranger arrived with her watch ticking loudly. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Top 4 Favorite Series

My Top 4 Favorite Series

Few things excite us readers like the prospect of a good series. And a good series can be hard to find. 

For me, a series can be good because of the main character, because of the setting, or more likely because of the action. 

Here are my top favorite series, in no particular order:

Friday, August 22, 2014

FAQ: Self-Publishing

Frequently Asked Questions
From readers: My Experience With Self-Publishing

In this week's episode of the Frequently Asked Questions series, I answer an email question from readers.

What was your experience with self-publishing? Would you do it again?

This is an interesting question, and something I think about frequently. The publishing industry has changed greatly in the last ten years, the last five years, the last two years. And I think it will undergo more changes still. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On The Road: Zapata Falls Recreation Area

On The Road: Zapata Falls Recreation Area

Zapata Falls is a recreation is a part of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. It is not a national park or monument, but it is a very cool place to see and spend some time. It is located in the San Luis Valley, about four or five miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review of Lee Child’s "Die Trying" (Jack Reacher #2)

Review of Die Trying by Lee Child
This second book in the Reacher series is a marked improvement over the first—especially in prose. (Read my review of the first book.) Additionally, the obvious British phrasing that was so apparent throughout the first book was also much improved in this book.
The storyline was a bit linear, but not so grossly predictable as the first. This story was written in the third person, rather than the first person, as the first book was, which helped greatly. We were able to bounce from multiple points of view, rather than getting the entire story from Jack Reacher. 
This book featured a lot of weapons technicalities, which Child handled with obvious skill and experience. And it dealt in military theory and history rather than practice, which took the pressure off the non-military Child, at least as far as I’m concerned.
I will say Reacher was more a more interesting character in the first story. In some places in this story, he was downright boring. His explosive strength, calculated aggression, and practiced skill all came into place very late in the story—too late. After all, that’s why we’re all reading.
Even still, I’m looking forward to the third book; I’m very curious about the continued evolution of both Reacher and Child.

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