Writing with a Plan

Writing can be fun and spontaneous. But when I want to produce something worthwhile, fiction or otherwise, I tend to start with a significant outline. Without a plan, I could always luck out with a good story, but even if I do, the mountain of editing work isn’t worth it.

I know other writers who don’t outline their work at all. Instead they just pick it up and go. (How fun!) That’s great for them but it doesn’t work for me. By the time I sit down to “write,” I’m already weeks, months, or even years into the project.


Mystery Fans at Large

In 10+ years of trying to get published, I’ve received feedback from supportive friends and family. In the course of getting published, the feedback has been positive, constructive, and sometimes embarrassing. Now, that I’m published, my book just started receiving feedback from complete strangers — people who are in no way connected to me, the industry, or my publisher. Mystery fans are actually reading my stuff? WOW!




Happy First Day of Spring

img_7454 - Copy

Skies are overcast in my corner of the world, but this photo captures a past spring when I visited Mt. Rainier with my family. Delicate and awesome; it embodies the spirit of the season.

Last sunny day this week

20161221_162744The change won’t stop.

We’ve had lots of rain in the last few weeks. But there’s still enough sunshine to go around. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or pouring, I always find nature and seasons inspiring.

I’m currently reading two mysteries for fun (a Rex Stout and an Agatha Christie) and I’m outlining book #4 in my Elliott Bay series while going over book #2 with my editor.

Lots of plots, work, and fun. So here’s to the ever changing-weather which helps me stay on top of it all.

Winter gray

perfect weather for reading

I love this time of year: short days, cool weather, and a fair helping of gray skies. It’s not as cold here in California as some parts of the world, but this kind of weather is still a great excuse to curl up with a good mystery by the fire. Oh, and add a cup of tea to that. It may be plain past time, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s perfectly wonderful.

Let the winter reading begin!

Balance: large and small

20161227_123358As far as I’m aware, the secret to having a happy and productive life (for me, those two are practically synonyms) is learning to balance life between all the little things we actually get to control and the the larger, overarching goals that take time and ongoing effort to achieve. The best part is that you don’t have to achieve perfect balance every single day. It’s the overall balance, not daily balance, that keeps us moving forward. This means that life doesn’t have to “get in the way” of our goals, because we are always adjusting our specific actions to bring the balance we need. Work hard, and roll with it.

From the Ground Up

20161227_123753I always want to be influenced by nature. The changing colors and textures of the seasons are too wonderful to overlook. Besides that, they provide an endless source of inspiration and contemplation -perfect for workday down-time and creative diversions.

This Christmas, I’m being charmed with wild mushrooms and asparagus fern.

How awesome is that?

A life with balance

Sometimes, I need time in my own head. Not because I want to brood or because I need ponder anything in particular; I just need to catch up with my thoughts and put my brain back in order. A couple hours away from my daily grind. I won’t have anything to show for those hours and it won’t shorten my to-do list, but it will keep me in balance. I’ll probably read a book, maybe even an old favorite, then I can get back to everything productive. And I’ll enjoy it all the more.

Discovering my favorite genre

20161208_113134I was in 8th grade when I picked up my first mystery. I remember the aisle and the shelf. The book was a paperback. Like all the library mysteries, it had a bright sticker with the image of a magnifying glass  and the word “Mystery” stuck to its spine. The author was Agatha Christie. I don’t remember which Christie it was, but dozens followed, and more mystery authors after that. What I do remember was the tantalizing feeling of escaping into those magical pages. I remember the excitement as the plot unfolded, the adventure, and my mounting suspicions as I approached the thrilling climax. Even then, I knew I’d found something wonderful; I’d discovered my favorite genre.