Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving thanks....

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a day of giving thanks for all we have. Many will be fortunate enough to spend it with loved ones, be it family or friends. We have both spent many past Thanksgiving with our respective families as well as wonderful friends. This year we are celebrating with friend in Florida as we prepare for our Caribbean cruise and then our move to Ecuador.

We have much to be thankful for - our large, extended family; our wonderful accepting friends; our health; our love of life; and much, much more.  So wherever you are, I'm wishing you a wonderful day of THANKS!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Research material: "Murder and Mayhem"

Writing murder mysteries can require a lot of research. Research about things that you might never have thought about or considered. It's easy to kill someone off with a gun or a knife. Poisoning too, but what poison? How is it administered? What are the symptoms? Will it show in a toxicology report? And so much more...

When I was writing book two in my Klondike Mystery Series, "Barely a Spark", I knew who was going to die but I had no idea how. I used D.P. Lyle's, "More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered" for research and combined with Internet research, came up with a unique way to kill my victim.

Well, now there is another book available for my arsenal, "Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical & Forensics Questions for Mystery Writers", just recently released as an ebook. Needless to say, I grabbed it and can't wait to see how it might help me write book three in my series.

As a writer, do you have a favorite author you use for research? As a reader, did you ever think about the research involved in writing a murder mystery?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Transitions - Flash to Shorts to Novels

When I started writing fiction, I wrote a couple of short stories and outlined a romance novel. I also dabbled in children's fiction. That was in over fifteen years ago. When I resumed writing in 2012, I found myself immersed in flash fiction. What fun! Writing, slashing, revising, slashing, adding, cutting until my words were trimmed to the bone but a story was still told.

In August of 2012 I participated in my first Camp NaNoWriMo, challenged with writing 50k words in thirty days. Oh my! Could I do this? Sure, I could toss words on paper but could I tell a story? Worse, could I stretch that story into 50k words? After all, I'd spent the last six plus months slashing my writing down to bare bones.

Surprisingly I did it, and I've done it twice more. What I've discovered is I write the story (no or very minimal editing) and when I rewrite my first draft, that is when I flesh out my descriptions, when I do more showing and less telling. Many authors find they cut words when they revise, I end up cutting but also adding a lot more than I cut.

Writing three novels in the last year meant no time for flash fiction or short stories. Well, I dabble a little in flash again - I missed my flash fiction writing friends - but not enough to really count. I also wrote one short story for an anthology with some author friends.

Now I need to write another short story for a second anthology and I'm struggling. I used to worry that I couldn't write a novel, now I find it hard to contain my ideas to something short.

Do you write fiction works of varying lengths? Do you have trouble transitioning?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something new in the house...or soon to be in the house

Just a short note...we went to Atlanta last Friday to pick up our Ecuadorian Pensioner Visas and then spent the weekend with my youngest daughter's family. They have become an Apple house with Macs, iPads and iPad Minis galore.

Well, after much discussion between ourselves, we decided to splurge and get iPads. My hubby wanted something easier to view and to possibly eventually replace his laptop. So he opted for a 32GB iPad Air. We got it at our local Sam's Club and he also picked up a nice combination cover and Bluetooth Keyboard from Kensington. He likes the fact that the keyboard comes out for when he just wants the cover.

He's already got an iPhone 4S, so his setup was pretty easy. My iPhone is a 3G and I only use it for games right now (was under AT&T which we dropped when Verizon added the iPhone line). We both have separate AppleIDs but from what we've read we can share his for Apps, Music, etc and keep our separate ones for contacts, calendar, iCloud. Should be interesting...hopefully I can get mine set up before our cruise on Dec 1st. Then I can play with it a bit while relaxing.

We both have Kindle Fires - hubby has the first gen and I have the HD (second gen). We are thinking about giving the first gen to a friend who can really use it and keeping mine as a spare backup. Still not sure...

Writing new? Sigh...nothing new. Just not going to have any spare time until the first of the year. Keeping up with three blogs is tough enough. LOL!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indelibles Indie Life for November

This my November post for monthly support group sponsored by The Indelibles, called Indie Life. We get to post anything we want in support of other independent authors.

#NaNoWriMo
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A lot of my writing friends are busy participating in NaNoWriMo and I actually feel left out. So I've been visiting the Facebook support group for NaNo'ers and offering support where I can. I did two NaNo's last year and produced two books. Right now I'm just too busy with personal things to even attempt writing but I hope to jump in again with Camp NaNo next summer. 

I've always worked better with a goal and a deadline and NaNo provides just that. Write 50k words in a month. It's actually easier than it sounds. My first NaNo, I had a dead body - a location setting - a few characters. That was it. I didn't even know who the killer was and while writing the book, the killer changed three times. LOL! I ended at at 52k at the end of the month; the story wasn't complete but I had survived Camp NaNo AND had most of my first novel written.

The other thing that happened during NaNo was the discovery that I could be a pantster, that I didn't have to be a plotter. This was counter to everything I've ever done but it was freeing; it really boosted my creativity.

Do you work better with deadlines? Are you a plotter or pantster? Would you ever or have you ever tried doing the opposite?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Barely a Spark" now available in PRINT!


For those of you who prefer print books, "Barely a Spark" is now available in paperback at Amazon. Good time to buy both books in the Klondike Mystery Series in either ebook or paperback. ;)
Prefer romance, try my romance novel, "Home Again", the follow-up to my short story, "Lost and Found".

There's even something for the little ones, ages 0-5, my picture rhyming book "What Do I Count" which is also available in both ebook and print versions (additional pages in the print version).

One last request, if you read and like any of my books, please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Staying Updated....

Not everyone has time to read blogs, even if you've signed up to follow it, but you can still keep up with the latest news about my books. Here are several ways:
    1. Sign up for notification from Amazon anytime I release a new book 
    2. LIKE my author/writing Facebook page 
    3. LIKE my Klondike Mysteries Facebook page 
    4. Sign up for my erratic, sporadic newsletter
See? Easy-peasy!!

Donna B. McNicol

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

#IWSG for November

Another month has rolled around and I'm up to my earballs in things that need to be done...oh wait, that's eyeballs.

But I can't forget to send a SHOUT OUT of encouragement to all my fellow writers participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Last year I was writing my romance novel, Home Again, during NaNo. YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

Writing short stories, flash fiction, novels....moving to Ecuador....finding a place to live there....which I did, now we have to furnish it....getting legal issues taken care of before the move....daily chores and just generally living life.

See? My brain is exploding with STUFF.


On a happy note, I fixed my flaky, erratic mouse issue. Changed batteries, still flaky. Installed new software/drivers, still flaky. Last thought, it was Win 8 issue. Nothing on Google other than a recommendation to clean it. So I finally took a q-tip with alcohol and swapped the little laser eye. WOW! What a difference....used to clean the trackball in my old mouse all the time. Never thought about the little eye because it's recessed. Happy mouser now!

Wait, I'm supposed to be writing about my insecurities as a writer....um, let's see. Nope, no time to figure that out this month. Maybe in December! ;)