BEWARE THE SCAM-2

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SHERRY'S FRIEND'S WEDDING


 My Blog this week is about the fourth Sherlock Holmes short story. Yes, like many other authors, I’m writing about the master detective invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, Doyle’s stories were written in the 19th century, and my Holmes is living in the 21st century in the San Francisco apartment of Sheridan (“Sherry”) Holmes.

 In this story, Sherry’s friend tells her about her planned wedding and invites her to attend. Along with her sickly father’s nurse, plus Sherry’s grandmother, Tessa, and Watson, the young, good-looking man who keeps all the old San Francisco Victorians in good working condition.

 But, wait, strange things happen in this story. For one thing the fiancĂ©’ is eager to marry her and take her to his home in Hungary to live. For another, the wedding chapel is painted purple and is staffed by a strange young man who doesn’t even know the groom. But then the groom never shows up. Instead, he writes her a lovely note explaining his anxiety to marry and take her back to Hungary with him. She’s eager to do so because she’s rather obese and never had a boyfriend.

 After that, things escalate. The bride wants to kill the groom, but strange things occur on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. What happens to the groom? Will the bride ever get married? What does Sherlock think of this strange story?


 If you haven’t read my first three Holmes’ stories, here’s your chance. The first story, titled A STUDY IN AMBER (Doyle’s first story about his Holmes, was titled A STUDY IN SCARLET.) And it’s free on Amazon. I made it free so readers who first find my stories by reading later novellas, learn how he came to be a ghost in the 21st century. Except for the three-book story, the rest will cost you the current price of the novellas, $1.99 each.

 A STUDY IN AMBER also contains a mystery which Holmes resolves, and the book (all the novellas) have a certain amount of humor along with a mystery. And, in addition, the fourth story, titled THE MISSING MAN, is coming out as an e-book at the same time. It, too, will show up in printed version later.  So, check Amazon for the new three-story book, and, if you have an e-reader, get a copy of THE MISSING MAN.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

HOLMES and HOLMES

My Blog this week is about a fourth Sherlock Holmes short story. Yes, like many other authors, I’m writing about the master detective invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, Doyle’s stories were written in the 19th century, and my Holmes is living in the 21st century in the San Francisco apartment of Sheridan (“Sherry”) Holmes.

 If you haven’t read my first three Holmes’ stories, here’s your chance. The first story, titled A STUDY IN AMBER (Doyle’s first story about his Holmes, was titled A STUDY IN SCARLET.) And it’s free on Amazon. I made it free so readers who first find my stories by reading later novellas, can learn how he came to be a ghost in 21st century San Francisco. However, if you want to read books two and three, (and I sincerely hope you like the first enough to try the others) they’ll cost you the price of these novellas, currently $1.99 each.

 As I indicated, Holmes’s story about how he came to live in San Francisco in the 21st century is spelled out in book One, A STUDY IN AMBER, so I’m not going to repeat that here. That book also contains a mystery which Holmes resolves, and the book (all the novellas) have a certain amount of humor along with a mystery.

 Originally, these novellas were e-books only, but I have a lot of relatives, most of whom don’t have an e-book reader, so they’ve been unable to read them. Until now. This coming November, however, will see a three-story book on Amazon, which will contain all three of those first stories in print. It’s titled (what else?) HOLMES AND HOLMES. And, in addition, the fourth story, titled THE MISSING MAN, is coming out as an e-book at the same time. Eventually, that too will show up in a printed version.

 So, check Amazon for the new three-story book, and, if you have an e-reader, get a copy of THE MISSING MAN. Doyle wrote some 50-plus stories about his 19th century Holmes, so I have plenty of work ahead of me. Book number five is already plotted and ready to be written and published. I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

 Please tell your friends who were reading my Holmes stories about these new books. And Happy Reading to you-all.

Friday, July 8, 2016

REPORT FROM A CRIPPLED LADY

Well, I’m not really crippled - at least only temporarily - so I expect to be normal again in a few more months. Three months have gone by since I fell in my bathroom and broke the bone in my left leg. The doctor clamped the bone to my hip, and says the X-Rays look good, so who am I to quarrel with him?



What happened next is that I got a blood clot in my right leg, which became very swollen and red, causing me to need a walker to get around easily (although I do walk a few steps when I need to), and my doctor says another six months of healing may be necessary before it’s normal again. It’s already only pale pink instead of red, and much less swollen. So here’s to a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Between now and then, if you are one of my former Blog readers, please start reading my Blogs every Wednesday again. And tell your friends and, especially, anyone who was reading me before March 25. Many thanks for your help in getting the word out that I’m back in Blog business again.


As for advice, obey your doctor, and any nurses they send around and you, too, may overcome a blood clot in nine months (or fewer).

For advice about how to overcome an addiction to an opioid painkiller, I did that over three years ago, and it worked, so try what I did, even though I’m not a doctor. Three years ago, addiction to painkillers was not making newspaper headlines, but it is now, so this is offered to help anyone who is caught right now.


About four years ago, I had an operation to replace my right knee. I was given, among other drugs, one called Percocet, and then given a prescription at my nearby Walgreen’s. After another month, I thought I was through with that, and stopped taking Percocet. Whoa.

Without the drug I couldn’t sleep. My skin felt as if insects were crawling all over it, and I turned and tossed in bed every five seconds. I went back to taking Percocet so I could get some sleep. And then my husband, who is also not a doctor (but a very smart guy), told me I was addicted and suggested a way to fix that.

It took several months, but it worked, so here it is for anyone who needs it. We started by my taking half a Percocet at bedtime, and I was able to sleep. We did that for two months, than switched to a quarter of a tablet, and that worked too. After two months of that, we switched to an eighth of a tablet for another two months, and when I finally stopped taking it altogether, I felt normal. Good luck.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Two Olivia Grant Cozy Mysteries

 As you may remember, my plan was to get back to blogging once a
week. However, as you now know, I failed again last week. But it
wasn't my fault. It was my publisher's. 
    
     The publisher of DEAD IN THE WATER, my cozy, humorous mystery,
which came out last October, wanted to release the second book in the
series, titled DEAD MEN'S TALES, on March 21st, but they never gave it
to me to proofread. Since DEAD IN THE WATER had been so easy to
proofread, they apparently assumed DEAD MEN'S TALES would be too.
     Had they allowed me to proofread it, I could have fixed the
problems they found much easier than waiting until only two days
before launch to ask me to fix them. So, in spite of having to attend
the three day Arts & Crafts Show held twice a year here, I had a mere
day and a half to do it. I've ordered an E-version of the book, but
haven't read it yet, so I don't even know if my changes helped or not.
     You see I knew - which the publisher didn't know - that the books
are set in different places. DEAD IN THE WATER is set mostly in
England, where my heroine solves the murder of a distant relative.
     DEAD MEN'S TALES is set in San Francisco, after Olivia goes back
home to continue working in the P.I. office of her brother. And the
plot of the second book involves which of the possible suspects goes
into the room where the victim had gone to read his speech before
giving it.
     It also involves searching for an old VHS tape which has valuable
information on it. Making the reader aware of that VHS tape's use was
my most important change, and I made it, and I hope readers will
follow the trail.
     So, DEAD MEN'S TALES was released yesterday by Smashwords and -
for a short time - is selling for $.99 as an E-book. All I know right
now is that - within the first two days, Monday and Tuesday - it
received 25 five-star reviews. For which I am most grateful. ______________________________________________________



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

READING WHILE WRITING?

I’m still recovering from the strokes I had in January, although, frankly, I feel quite normal and do everything I did before. However, I’m waiting to find out when and where I go for a few Physical Therapy sessions which they promised me.

Oh well, here’s my Blog post for this week. I’ll try to do one every week, as I did before. And this is one I’ve been asked about often, namely, “Should a writer read while she’s writing a book?”

Many beginning writers ask if it’s okay to read while writing, or will you, unknowingly, transfer some of what you’ve read into your own book. Most writers manage to keep those separate, but, if it’s a problem for you, make a plan for how to keep them that from happening.

First of all, don’t read a book, or anything, which is too similar to what you’re currently writing. For example, don’t read a romance novel, if you’re writing one. Or a mystery, or a science fiction book, if that’s what you’re working on.

Mystery writers are especially worried about putting some other author’s solution into their book. If you made a synopsis of your book, or even an outline, before you started, you should already know how you expect to end it, so you won’t be tempted to borrow another author’s ending.

I don’t read any fiction when I’m writing my own fiction. Years ago, I wrote two books at the same time, but one was non-fiction, and that worked out fine. In fact, I tend not be reading any other author’s work while I’m writing my own. When I’m concentrating on my own story, I think of it first thing in the morning, and basically all day. Maybe I’m the strange one here, because I just have no desire to read anything but what I’m doing.

However, if you’re in the middle of reading a book when you decide to start writing one of your own, my suggestion would be to stop reading and put that book away until you can do nothing but concentrate on it. Or else, finish reading that book until your mind is completely occupied with your own book. That should be all that fills your thoughts. In fact, you might get ideas for how to handle difficult scenes, without actually copying the method you’ve just read. In other words, if you can get some worthwhile ideas from your reading, it can be useful. However, my advice is to stick with your own work until it’s finished. I’m pretty sure you didn’t want to hear that, so I’m sorry, but I’m a one-book at a time person.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

WRITING IS HARD WORK

People who are not writers (the kind who get paid for what they write), think writing is easy. After all, we all learned to write in grade school if not before, and, even if we never wrote a novel, we’ve written lots of other things. Letters to friends and relatives, and countless stories, or essays, for school projects.

But “real” writing is hard. Take a novel, for instance. First, you have to know what it will be about, such as the great white whale in MOBY DICK. Then you must put characters in it, and you must know those characters, and what they think about the subject of your novel. They must also know the other characters in the novel, and, preferably, have a different opinion than that of the others.

Your novel must be set somewhere, and you’ll have to describe it, so that your reader has a mental picture of the place, such as the Southern town in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Plus, if a character goes somewhere, you’ll have to describe the “somewhere” she goes, and, perhaps, how she gets there, such as Atlanta, and, perhaps a train.

Which brings us to time-setting. Is your book set in today’s world, the 21st century, or the past, or the future? Books, as you know can be “contemporary,” like GONE GIRL, or “historical,” like GONE WITH THE WIND, or set it some future time, as most science fiction novels are. And, as the author of this book, it’s your job to decide the answer to all those questions.

That’s just the beginning. In order to have a reader read your book, you have to provide a plot for your story. If you want a reader to finish reading your book, and say, “That was a fantastic story. I couldn’t stop reading.” you’ll have to write it in such a way that that’s what your typical reader will say.

In addition, you need to write characters who take part in your plot, and some of them might not agree with your main character about the plot’s worthiness. In fact, the most important thing you have to write is how and why your characters disagree. It’s called “conflict,” and every book worth reading has conflict in it. Even a romance novel, where the characters fall in love and end up together, must have a time in which the reader doubts that will ever happen.

“Okay,” you say, “I won’t write a romance novel. I’ll write a mystery where a sleuth will figure out who the guilty person is and bring him to justice.” Remember “conflict”? The stronger the conflict in your mystery, the more exciting your book will be. Can you write a book like that? Try writing out a plot where your sleuth stumbles upon a dead person and must figure out who killed him, and why. It’s hard.

But don’t let me stop you from trying. All of us writers were faced with those problems, and we managed to answer those questions so well that our books were published and we earned money as well as congratulations from friends and relatives. I’ve written, and had published, nineteen romance novels and now four mysteries. My greatest thrill is reading an Amazon review where the author says, “What a great story.” I hope you have moments like that, too. Just remember, it’s hard to do but you’ll be rewarded when you accomplish i

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CO-AUTHORING A BOOK

Okay, you’re right. It’s been two weeks since I put up a post on my blog. But I’m still recovering from the stroke I had in January. And where are the physical therapy sessions they promised me? Huh?

But this week my favorite blogger, Anne R. Allen, has posted an article about-authoring books by Melodie Campbell, and, since I wrote one like that myself not so long ago, I’m inspired to respond to it.

The first bit of advice Melodie gives is to find someone whose style is simiar to yours. Right? No, wrong.

I met my co-author in a writing class and quickly realized we had different writing styles. I write fast–I called it “down and dirty”–and Carole writes slowly, using lots of adjectives, similes and metaphors. It occurred to me we should combine our styles, and when I telephoned Carole, it turned out she felt the same way about me.

So, since we lived in the same town, we got together and brain-stormed our first book. That gave us an outline for a romance novel, and we were off. Since our styles were so different, we took advantage of that. I wrote the first chapter, “down and dirty,” and gave it to Carole. She added all those great words, plus similes and metaphors, all the stuff I coudn’t do. We not only finished that book, we wrote two more together, one a straight mystery and the other a romantic-suspense.

Then tragedy came calling. Carole bought a new computer (different from mine) and my husband retired, so we moved 500 miles away. We decided that, since Carole still worked and I didn’t, that I would send our books to agents and editors, and Carole would send me postage-money from time to time. And I sold our first book, SOUTHERN STAR, to Avalon Books, a well-known romance publisher. That came nineteen years after we first wrote it. Lesson: never give up.

But the publisher, who had already paid us a nice advance, went out of business, and guess who bought them? Amazon! So, SOUTHERN STAR is now a Montlake Romance and they sell copies for us reglarly.

Carole and I kept in touch, slightly, but eventually, we found ourselves able to write together again, so we did. We polished our remaining books and sold another one, the straight mystery, EYEWITNESS, which came out this past October from Coffeetown Press. Our third one is keeping some editor’s desk warm right now, but they can’t win. They’re destined to buy it (says I).

So, even with two completely different styles, we forged a writing bond. We haven’t written any more books together, but Carole left her job and writes books, both romance and romantic-suspense, and I’ve learned to use words, even similes and metaphors, much better. Carole has sold three more of her books, and I’ve sold fourteen of mine.

But, one thing Melodie said in her article is definitely true. Trust between partners is very important, and Carole and I definitely have that down pat. When we do get together, even our husbands get along.