Monday, May 30, 2016

A New Look!

If you come directly to this blog, you may not have seen the new look for my author website. Until now, all my pages were contained inside my blog. Easy but prone to errors when Blogger.com hiccups. It was time to take a step up when my menu system stopped working and no one could get to my book pages. Not good anytime, but especially when you've just released a new book and are trying to gain new readers. Oops!

So just before we left on our cruise, I spent three days designing a new website with a new look. Close to the old one, but hopefully a bit cleaner. Eventually I will add more book information, but for now it works. (I think!)

You can get to the website two ways: dbmcnicol.com and donnamcnicol.com. The first is the true website, the second domain does an automatic referral to the first. It should be transparent to you, the reader. The blog is the same, but now you have to click the blog link if you come to the website. Yes, you can still go directly to the blog, bypassing the website, but now the links on the blog will return you to the website.

Phew! Confused yet? LOL! The only gotcha may be in old blog posts. If you are viewing one and see images missing, please let me know so I can fix them. I thank you all so much for sticking with me!

Oh, and here's a half page preview - hope you will check out the whole site.



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Monday, May 23, 2016

BOOK UPDATE: "Paradise Down" is now available!

Over the last couple of months, I've made multiple references to the novella set in Hawaii that I was writing for my author friend, Toby Neal. Her Lei Crime Series books have been very successful and Amazon built a 'world' for the series. In this Kindle World, you will find books by a wide variety of authors but all set using the characters and locations in the original series.

After Toby asked me a second time, I managed to put this novella together. Paradise Down is set on the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i and introduces several new characters. Lucia and her big brother Nicol├ís Santerez, moved to Hawaii with their mother after their father died. Lucia returned to the mainland for college, while there her mother died. After graduation, she declined Nicky's invitation to come home, remaining on the mainland and working to save money for her Master's degree.

Ready to start attending the University of Hawaii in the fall, she agrees to come to Kaua`i and help her brother run his new-to-him dive shop. But when she arrives, he's gone missing. She meets hunky firefighter, Jared Stevens, who is vacationing in the area. They discover someone doesn't want her brother found and would like to shut down the dive shop. But who? And why?


What lies under the waters of Kaua`i could make you rich or get you killed.

It's available on Amazon and only $1.99 and you don't have to have read the rest of the books to enjoy this. But if you do like it, I highly recommend reading Toby's entire Lei Crime series as well as the other novellas in the Kindle World.

GET LOST IN THE LEI CRIME SERIES


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Monday, May 16, 2016

She's leaving, NOT on a jet plane

It's been a busy week, finishing up the edits for Paradise Down so I can upload it to Amazon before heading out for our two weeks of cruising. Everyone always wants to know where we are going and I never know (most of the time). Why? Because the majority of our cruises visit the same ports. Why? So hubby can indulge in his passion for scuba diving; I get to read and write!

We are going out of Ft. Lauderdale this time. New to us ship, Conquest, but same class as the Valor (our last three cruises out of Port Canaveral), so the layout will be the same. We are doing a back-to-back (6 day cruise followed by an 7 day cruise on the same ship, we do have to change cabins though, but they move our stuff for us).

So here is our schedule, the little wave symbol shows a day at sea.

May 22nd: 6 Night Exotic Eastern Caribbean
Fort Lauderdale  Half Moon Cay    Amber Cove  Grand Turk    Fort Lauderdale
May 28th: 7 Night Western Caribbean
Fort Lauderdale    Cozumen  Belize City  Roatan  Grand Cayman    Fort Lauderdale

I hope to have a few more HOOT TROOP members signed up to help me promote the release of my new novella. Only a few spots open, so check it out and sign up if you're interested!

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Monday, May 9, 2016

In hiding? Maybe....

I haven't been spending a lot of time online lately. Why? I've been writing! I have my new novella, Paradise Down (renamed from Whispers in Paradise) for the Lei Crime Series Kindle World. I had a blast writing it, but have to admit that writing about a place I've never visited was a challenge.

It should be available on Amazon by the end of the month. It's set in Hawaii and is light mystery as well as a short, easy read.
What lies under the water off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i  could make you rich or could kill you. Lucia arrives home to help her brother with his new business, but Nichol├ás is missing. Now she too is under attack. Can a vacationing firefighter help her or will they both be destroyed.
Now I'm hard at work on Almost a Touch, book three in my Klondike Mystery Series. I'm also working on getting ready for two weeks of cruising. Yes, you read that right! Another cruise - actually, two cruises. We're doing another back-to-back on the Carnival Conquest out of Ft. Lauderdale. Stu will be diving and I will be writing (and maybe a little reading tossed in for fun). Once we return, we have to get ready to head north to Maryland for a month.

What does this all mean to you? For the most part, I will try to keep my Monday posts written but don't be surprised if I miss one.

Ciao!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

#IWSG for May 2016: Memory


Once again, it's hard to believe, but it's time for my monthly IWSG post. Every month seems to pass by faster and faster. What is IWSG? Direct from their site:
To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The theme for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group is MEMORY.

What is memory? According to The Human Memory:
Memory is our ability to encode, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences in the human brain. It can be thought of in general terms as the use of past experience to affect or influence current behaviour.
There is a difference between an aging memory and one afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer's. How to tell the difference? Here is a good guide I found online.

Normal age-related memory changes
Symptoms that may indicate dementia

Able to function independently and pursue normal activities, despite occasional memory lapses

Difficulty performing simple tasks (paying bills, dressing appropriately, washing up); forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times
 

Able to recall and describe incidents of forgetfulness

Unable to recall or describe specific instances where memory loss caused problems
 

May pause to remember directions, but doesn’t get lost in familiar places

Gets lost or disoriented even in familiar places; unable to follow directions
 

Occasional difficulty finding the right word, but no trouble holding a conversation

Words are frequently forgotten, misused, or garbled; Repeats phrases and stories in same conversation
 

Judgment and decision-making ability the same as always

Trouble making choices; May show poor judgment or behave in socially inappropriate ways
 

Cleveland Clinic explains some other differences in our brain memory as we age.

Preserved memory functionsDeclining memory functions
  • Remote memory
  • Procedural memory (performing tasks)
  • Semantic recall (general knowledge)
  • Learning new information
  • Recalling new information (takes longer to learn something new and to recall it)

What does this have to do with writing? A lot...at least for me. I am finding it harder and harder to bring out the words I'm looking for. It's becoming more of a struggle to craft that perfect phrase. I find myself writing simpler sentences.

And I have to admit, I'm not happy about this. It becomes quite frustrating to KNOW you know a word, but you can't remember it. Yes, it happens to everyone at some time but for me, it is happening much too regularly. Am I worried about dementia or Alzheimer's? Not right now. I am more worried about spending time producing a poor product for my readers and frittering away what is left of my life as I struggle with this.

I will revisit this topic at the end of this year. For now, I'm hanging in there - by a hangnail at times, but hanging nevertheless.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Did she or didn't she?

I decided at the last minute to do Camp NaNoWriMo in the month of April. I wanted to kick-start book three in my Klondike Mystery series after finishing the first draft of my Lei Crime Series novella for Kindle Worlds.

I committed to writing 50k words in a month. Did I make it? No. Am I upset? No.

Part of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo is to get you writing, getting something written down. I did that, I got about a third of the book done and that is a lot more than I have done in quite a while. Eleven chapters are written! Will it be out soon? Um, maybe Sept-Oct? Maybe, but definitely by the end of the year.

Why? For several reasons. First is my commitment to getting my novella, "Whispers in Paradise", edited and published before we leave on our cruise (May 22nd). The other one is my personal life. We have doctor appointments, tests to be done, possible surgeries to be taken care of. We have a huge RVing event to attend in New England. New England where I was born and raised. New England where we have barely visited. That means we will be doing some sightseeing and motorcycle riding. This is my life and I'm not getting any younger. LOL!

So was I a winner? Not by official standards, but by mine, yes. I feel good. Let the writing continue!!

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