Caught in the Ever-Twisting Tornado of Revision

Revising a novel is like killing a hydra with a safety razor. When you’re deep in the process, you swear it will NEVER END, but no good comes of short-circuiting the work. ~Susan Spann (Author of Claws of the Cat)

Ever just see something and say-Dang! That’s what’s going on in my life right now. I’m killing that hydra. Well, maybe not the last part but I am in the throes of revision with my sixth novel.dressform

To add my own spin on this excellent description of revising to me writing is like when you sew a dress for yourself. You love the idea of the dress on the pattern envelope, and you carefully choose your material, cut out the pattern and begin to assemble it. You still have that vision of what it’s going to look like in your head, but as the dress starts to come together you realize things. Maybe you don’t have the adequate skill level to put on the collar, or maybe you misjudged how much material you need to cover that second piece of apple pie you couldn’t turn down. The first time you put the dress on, you can see alterations that need to be made, and you would never dream of wearing this monster in public. So what do you do? Even out the hem, let out a dart or two, straighten it up and try it on again, and then maybe fix more and try it again. Eventually, if you keep working on it (and you’re not sewing silk!) you have a dress that is one of a kind and you’re proud to wear. When someone else sees you in the dress, they think your couture fit just happened, but you know about the days and days you sat staring at your sewing machine wishing it would just fix it for you. My labor of love is writing and writing is hard work! I still don’t have a title for the book. I’ve been seeing ads for Sharknado 2, another future cinema classic and of course my mind went to-tornado in Pecan Bayou–da da da-

NUTNADO.

No? I’ll keep working on it. Only one more day on my 99 Cent special on Doggone Dead over at Smashwords. You can download at Smashwords in many formats so check it out! DoggoneDeadCouponBanner

Giveaway, Interview and Review for Granny Skewers a Scoundrel

GRANNY SKEWERS SMALL BANNERToday we are being visited by Julie Seedorf on her book tour for her latest book, Granny Skewers a Scoundrel. I had the chance to interview Julie and one of the most interesting things I found about her is that she also has a young readers series!

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I write because I breathe. I have always been a writer although in my teenage years it was a diary. Recently I found my diary from 1965 and the details of my first love and my first kiss. After reading my diary entries from 1965 my mind started putting them together as a story so I guess the dreams of a young teenager were the start of my crazy old age fantasies. I took some classes in creative writing in college, got married, had kids and put my writing on the backburner except for volunteer activities such as writing Christmas and Lenten services for church. When I became an empty nester I was offered a job at a Computer Sales and Service business as an office manager. It fell into my lap. After I had worked there for a few years the owner thought I had skills to be a technician and paid for my training and employed me as a technician in his computer business. He then encouraged me when he was ready to retire to start my own computer business. I was 60 years old, I had become a technician at the ripe old age of 55. I owned my own business for three years, until the past year when I decided to go for my dream and write full time. Also, about eight years ago an area paper offered me a job as their Monday columnist, and I have a column called Something About Nothing. Along with writing my Cozy Mystery, Fuchsia Minnesota Series, I have a young reader series called the Granny Is In Trouble Series. I have a wacky way of thinking so perhaps that is why some of my book characters are a little out of this world. I believe we need things to laugh about including ourselves and the world we live in. Part of my motivation for writing is my grandchildren. Although my cozy mysteries are for adults I don’t ever want to write anything that they could not pick up and look through or read. My young reader series which is about grandparents and grandchildren, also has touched the hearts of some adults. I believe we need to remember who we were when we were young and let our grandchildren know that part of us. I also believe that we need to keep the child in us alive. It makes life more interesting.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

The idea behind my Fuchsia Minnesota series just happened. It happened at a time when I was having health problems which led me to a depression. I started writing not knowing what it was going to be and where it was going to end up. I didn’t have any intention of going for my writing dream and publishing it. I would wake up each morning with a chapter in my head. I learned to let my Granny character take the lead. She surprises me and it brought me out of my depression and changed the way I look at life. Writing the Fuchsia Minnesota Series took away my fear and taught me that it is time to embrace my wackiness and be who God created me to be.

DSC_0358Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The books Granny Hooks A Crook and Granny Skewers A Scoundre,l are pure fantasy. I can’t say there are any real life experiences for me in there except for loving coffee, wine and chocolate. My character, Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt, better known as Granny, does have some characteristics of my mother. Many people have criticized the over the top character, but my mom at 90 years old, was patching her own roof, sawing wood with a table saw, trying to rent a car when she wasn’t supposed to be driving anymore, and was still strong and could out lift all of us. She eventually at the age of 92 had to be moved to a nursing home because of dementia. There were days she did not know who I was, and so I chose to find the humor in the situation. I always tried to guess who she would decide I was on any given day. I knew my mother, I was an only child, would never choose to forget me. I had to find the humor and it was easier when I did that to enjoy my visits and have some fun with her. She defied everything people think about old age. That is why Granny has her forgetful moments and we have a little fun with that. If you look through the tears of sorrow you will find some joy and laughter.

Who is your favorite character to create scenes for in the book?

I love writing for my main character Granny. There is so much leeway with her. She watches her neighbors, she is tough on crime, she has softness for animals, and underneath her crusty exterior she hurts and mourns but picks herself up and moves on. Many people see only the far out person she is, but if they look deeper there is a depth to Granny that is there if you look for it. The story may be over the top, but the way she cares for her neighbors and her animals, and Franklin, is there underneath her snappy wit and crusty exterior. That is what I hope people can see. When I wrote the last chapter in this book I actually had tears because I knew what it cost Granny to say some of those last lines. I knew her heart. My heart and hers are connected no matter how over the top she is. In the following excerpt from Granny Skewers AScoundrel, after Granny found Sally’s body, readers may see crustiness, silliness of animals popping on her head, but in between the lines I want the readers to see a woman that feels she failed her friend, a woman that is devastated that someone got past her and hurt her friend.

Granny held up the knitting needle again in defense. “She’s dead, Franklin, she’s dead. I failed. I failed. I was supposed to be keeping an eye on Sally. Every day I get my binoculars out and I check on them––George, Mavis and Sally. And last night with all the hoopla of hooking the crooks, I must have forgotten, and now Sally is dead; she’s dead.” Granny dropped the knitting needle, dropped to the ground, uncharacteristically sobbing uncontrollably. Baskerville came over beside her and started howling his saddest howl. Fish started licking her face, little white poodle climbed into her lap and started nuzzling her hand, Furball jumped on her head and started purring to comfort her, and Tank rolled over on his back, which was a hard thing to do for such a hefty lug of a dog, right next to her side to give her comfort.

How can readers find your books and are there more coming in this series?

Readers can find my books on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes and Noble.com and other independent books sellers. Granny Hooks A Crook and Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig? are also available for the Nook. Granny Skewers A Scoundrel and Snicklefritz will soon be available on the nook. They are all available for the Kindle. Right now I am working on the third book in the Fuchsia Minnesota Series, a book of my columns, and another children’s book.

 

My Review:  4 Stars

Granny is crazy.  The main character in this book is deceiving with her pink cane and her penchant for dressing in “Red Hat Club” fashions but don’t let that fool you.  This character is as sharp as a tack!  This cozy mystery excels in lovable characters and zany situations.  I especially like the idea of the tunnels under the town.  When Granny’s neighbor tells her that the grass is no longer talking to her and then dies a mysterious death, Granny is on the case.  This is a fun time in Fuschia, Minnesota!

 

Enter Julie’s Giveaway and get your very own copy of Granny Skewers a Scoundrel!

Click Here to Enter!

 

Review of Calico Joe

Calico JoeCalico Joe by John Grisham My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Goodreads Review:  This was a wonderful story about the dark side of baseball. Grisham creates a beautiful hero who perseveres and I loved every minute of it. If you watched baseball in the 70’s or if you are a fan today, you will enjoy this book!

 

I know.  I know.  I’m a mystery writer, so why am I reading a book about baseball?  Confession time.  I love books and movies about sports.  These stories provide a natural protagonist (the team, the player) and antagonist (the other guys) and always build to such a wonderful ending.  I’ve seen Field of Dreams so many times I don’t think I could come up with a number and Blindside?  What a wonderful story of  love, strength and overcoming adversity.  Shoot, I even watched Hoosiers and I’m not much of a basketball fan.  Growing up, my older brother played in school and I can still remember the smell of the gym, the deafening sound of the buzzer and even the squeaking of the shoes as the players ran endlessly up and down the court.  Hoosiers captures all of that but also shows someone like me what the game is really all about.  I think these stories should be prescribed to anyone suffering depression.  It couldn’t hurt.

Now understand, I am not a regular watcher of sports.  I keep up with it, but I rarely sit down and watch a game.  I just love the stories that come out of these events.  Sports are a treasure trove of characters and plotlines.

In Calico Joe the story is not about the main character’s game but his father’s.  This wonderful hero sets out to right a terrible wrong against odds that are overwhelming.  If you watched baseball in the 1970′ s, you will love the appearances of the players who were big at that time.  My brother and I collected the cards and played a form of a card-flying baseball game on any flat surface we could find.  Think of if as fun without video games.

If you love a good sports story with a heart then check out Calico Joe.

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Help Me Name My Hurricane

hurricaneBecause  there is a hurricane in my sixth book in the Pecan Bayou Series,  I’m reviewing names.  I would love to have my readers help me choose just the right handle for our fictional storm.  From the time of year in the book and the many years I spent living in a hurricane zone, I figure the weather service would be somewhere between D to G.   Here are some names I’ve been thinking about.

 

Choose a name and let me know why you chose it in the comment section.
 

 

I have had such a positive response to my 99 Cent Special on my Fourth of July book, I’ve decided to extend the sale until July 30!

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Book Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban

The Fate of Mercy AlbanThe Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! Take a beautiful old house, rich people, ghosts, secret passageways, a haunted past and murder and you have this well-told story. It had me guessing. The Fate of Mercy Alban reminded me in some ways of Ammie Come Home-not so much in the story as the coming together of the main characters to solve the mystery. Loved it! Perfect stormy night summer read!

 

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Fourth of July Mystery @ 99 Cents With Coupon Code!

Happy Fourth of July!  For a limited time, my Fourth of July mystery, Doggone Dead will be at 99 Cents through Smashwords.  You can pick up the book in multiple formats, so grab it before the sparklers burn out!   Write this down!  HN76H

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Doggone Dead
(#3 in the Pecan Bayou Series)
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Smashwords Coupon Code HN76H

Give me land lots of land….and a puppy on the loose. When Betsy Livingston’s puppy runs away, she has no idea it will lead her to a murder on a movie cowboy star’s estate. Not only has there been a murder, but the town reports sightings of the dead cowboy himself. He’s out to seek revenge on all who wronged his daughter who became the victim of her own money-loving butler. Enjoy a little time on the Fourth of July in the tiny town of Pecan Bayou Texas where old cowboys never die…

 

Follow These Steps to Get Doggone Dead at 99 Cents!

Follow This Link:

2.  Put the book in your cart at 2.99 Make sure you have chosen the correct format for your ereader.

3.  Insert Coupon Code HN76H at checkout.

4.  Read Doggone Dead when the fireworks get boring.

 

 

Excerpts and Short Story Downloads Page Added

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I’ve finally put all the links and uploads together for my excerpts page.  I love excerpts because it gives me the opportunity to see if I like the story or even the way the writer puts it together.  I’ve also included my stories from the short story collection I’m working on titled Mystery Road.  I’ll be adding to that from time to time and eventually will be publishing it.  Until then-you get to read the new stories right here on the blog.

I am still working on book six which also still doesn’t have a  title.  There is a hurricane in this book and I’m wracking my brain to figure out a name for it.  Suggestions?