Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Begins....

Short post for the start of #NaNoWriMo - here is the best advice I can give to myself and other participants.

Yes, I bought the says it all. LOL! For the rest of this month I'll be posting interviews with other writers participating in NaNoWriMo. Some are first timers like me, others are veterans. I hope you enjoy listening to their perspectives.

#NaNoWriMo Interview: Sarah Aisling

 Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?
 Yes, and I'm already wondering if I've lost my mind.

If yes, why did you decide this was the year?
 I have a vociferous inner editor who sometimes holds me back. I tend to edit everything to death, so I'm hoping to bypass her and open up the creative channels during NaNo. *crosses fingers*

 If yes, what is your greatest fear?
 That I'll freeze up and be unable to write anything.

 How much preparation do you plan to do before November 1st?
 I have a basic outline I'll be working from. Maybe I should be doing more, but that's what I've decided to go with.

 Got anything you'd like to tell us about this years project?
 I'll be writing the sequel to my first novel. I already know the characters and the setting, and I have a basic outline of the story.

Anything else you'd like to share?
 I'm grateful to Ruth Long for providing the wonderful Facebook NaNo group. There's a wonderful group of writers there, and I know it will be a great place to vent and collaborate in November!

Sarah Aisling hails from the East Coast of the US and loves living by the ocean with her incredibly indulgent husband and awesomely precocious daughter. She’s currently putting the finishing touches on her upcoming novel, The Weight of Roses.
When Sarah isn’t being enslaved by her characters, she can be found with her nose in a book, biking, hiking, camping, lusting after anything leopard, and spending time with friends and family.

Twitter: @SarahAisling
Facebook Page:


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My ebook 'Flash of Fantasy" - FREE today

I almost forgot to post this...sorry! Please share as you can. FREE today on Amazon

A Flash of Fantasy is a compilation of flash fiction stories I have written during the first six months of 2012. Some were written with a word count limit, some on starter prompts, some on photographs and some on a phrase. Not all stories will incorporate the chosen word(s) and not all use the photograph(s) directly. These were used to inspire, not dictate.

One story won second place in a competition, another was chosen to be displayed worldwide on The Flash Flood blog during National Flash Fiction Day.

I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction. [source:]

A little pre-#NaNo Humor


[borrowed from Facebook]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I did it...finished the first draft of my first novel

Two posts in one day. In my last post I gave you an excerpt from my first mystery novel, "Not a Whisper". Today I wrote over 7k words and finished my first draft!!! Over 79k words total, now the real work begins, edits. My first run through will fix typos, missing words, add description (I'm still learning how to SHOW, not TELL) and maybe fix some POV (point of view) issues.

I don't know how quickly I'll get through the first run through because on November 1st I'll start writing my next novel, a romance tentatively titled as "Home Again". It will be based on my short story, "Lost and Found" which will be the prequel.

Wish me luck...I hope I enjoy writing this one as much as I've enjoyed writing "Not a Whisper".

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Writing madly...Madly writing

I know, I've neglected this blog for a bit but I've been busy writing. I've been working hard to finish  the first draft of "Not a Whisper", the novel I started during Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm closing in on the end now and should have it done by this weekend. Okay, so I missed the last two deadlines but honest, really, I'm almost there!

So just to continue piquing your interest, here's another short excerpt:

"Jim, thanks for taking time to talk to us." Dave Moore, Bradford Chief of Police motioned to a chair on the other side of the table. State Trooper Jamison 'Jazz' Maddox sat beside the Chief.

"No problem, Chief. What's up?" Jim stretched his legs out, not sure why he was here but ready to discuss any of his open cases. "Got an update on the fire or Tanner?" Jim sat straighter and leaned forward. "I'd sure like to know what happened to Corey, is it true he had a heart attack this morning?"

"News travels fast around here, yes it's true. We still haven't been able to interview Tanner. That brings us back to this conversation." Dave shifted uneasily in his seat. There was no easy way to do this, he was just going to have to say it.

Before he could talk, Jazz spoke, "Jim, you've been a real asset on my cases and I really appreciate your help. You and Officer Peck are to be commended for the hard work you've put in, trying to resolve the fire at the Drop Inn." He paused and watched Jim for a moment. "Now that we know it was arson, our next task is to find how who set it and why."

Sanders sat, one hand across his stomach, the other rubbing his chin reflectively. "Are there any suspects?"

Jazz nodded, "We actually have too many. Of course there is Corey Tanner but he has dropped lower on the list since he appeared to have been held against his will for the past week. We still have to fill out his time-line."

Dave added, "We aren't ruling anyone out at this point."

Jazz resumed, "And there is Jimmy Crocker. He was really ticked at Riley and the whole Harper family. He's got motive and definitely lived close enough to set it, go home and return when the alarm went out."

"I'm not really all that sure that Crocker should be on the suspect list but as I said, we're not ruling anyone out yet." Dave stared at Jim and wondered what his thoughts were right now. "Coffee anyone? I'll get it from my office."

"Black please," Jim asked.

"Same here, Dave. Thanks." Jazz turned back to Jim while Dave went to his office.

"So Jim, if I remember, you raise horses. Been doing that long?" He watched for any unusual reaction.

"Most of my life. I've downsized a lot in the last couple of years. Just kept a couple of my favorites, ones that are getting old like me. I couldn't bear to sell them."

Dave set the coffee down in front of them and tried to inject a little humor into the room, "Black and black. Hope I didn't mix them up."

Everyone chuckled and took a sip. "Rose and Cherie were right, this is the best coffee ever. I'll never let you serve me the swill in the regular pot." Jazz sipped again and went back to his conversation with Jim. "Is your place big enough to raise horses? I thought you lived close to town?" Dave waited for Jim to flinch, blink or do something to show he was nervous.

"No sir, when I was actively raising them I had some property out of town. Good acreage, great trail riding - well, except for when the ATV crowd started arriving."

Dave spoke next, "That property, it was up on the hill, in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest, right?"

"Yes sir. It's kind of run down now. My wife wants me to sell it but I keep hoping one of the kids will want it."

Dave and Jazz looked at each other. No sweat, no flinching, nothing to show any nervousness about the conversation.

Dave took a deep breath, "Jim, did you hear where we found Corey Tanner and Cherie Tucker?"

"Just up in the woods, not much else. Everyone has seemed pretty closed mouth about the location. The woods are pretty big though."

"Yes they are. The reason everyone has been quiet about the location is the reason for this talk today."

Jim cocked his head and raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

Dave took another big breath, "Yes. They were both found tied up inside an old barn on a deserted piece of property in the woods."

Jim still didn't understand, "Really?"

Jazz went in hard, "Jim, they were found in your old barn on your old deserted horse farm. What do you know about that?"

Jim sat up straight in the chair, blinked a couple of times and looked very confused. "I had no idea. I haven't been up there for a couple of years. No reason to." He looked at Dave, "Chief, honest. I haven't been there in forever."

Dave asked bluntly, "Jim, did you have anything to do with Corey Tanner's disappearance?"

Saturday, October 20, 2012

GUEST POST: Rosemary McCracken - Money & Murder

Pat Tierney, my central character in Safe Harbor, is a forty-something financial advisor. She emerged, fully grown, from my background as a journalist who specializes in personal finance. Over the years, I’ve interviewed many financial and investment professionals for my articles, and I know the challenges they face. Pat embodies traits of those in the financial services industry I admire most. She cares about her clients. She’s a champion of small investors. She has sleepless nights when stock markets are in a downturn. And she realizes that money can be a strong motive for crime, including murder.

Greed is a powerful incentive for theft and fraud. But some people don’t stop there; they move onto murder. Take Mary Ann Cotton who poisoned a string of people in Victorian England, including three husbands and a lover, after making sure that they’d purchased life insurance. Then she collected on the policies and moved on to her next victim.

More recently, Canada’s black widow, 77-year-old Melissa Weeks, has just been charged with trying to poison her 75-year-old husband shortly after their wedding in late September. Back in 1991, Weeks was convinced of manslaughter and served a jail term for killing her second husband on a deserted road. He was heavily drugged when she ran him over twice with a car. She was also convicted and did jail time for fraud, theft and forgery involving other lonely men with whom she had relationships.

Pat Tierney’s profession gives her an edge as an amateur sleuth. She recognizes the red flags for fraud and financial abuse: the “time-limited offers” that consumers need to act upon immediately without getting second opinions; clients who ask to be cashed out of investments but won’t give a reason why; clients who make large withdrawals from their bank accounts; and elderly people whose children or caregivers have isolated them from their friends and community.

The fact that a financial advisor has to know her clients is probably the greatest ace Pat holds. It means that she will know if a client has health concerns. She will be one the first in the know if a client is diagnosed with a terminal illness. And getting back to money and greed, she’ll also know how much money a client has – or doesn’t have. And who he is leaving it to in his will.

There is one type of crime that Pat is particularly well positioned to spot – white collar crime committed by her peers. Because the financial services industry revolves around money, it provides opportunities for those who are clever and greedy enough to challenge the system. Not only crimes of fraud and embezzlement, but also laundering the proceeds of these crimes. There will always be some bad apples in circulation, and committed professionals like Pat want to see tougher penalties to deter them. They want the system to protect their clients, their firms and themselves from liability.

In Safe Harbor, a red flag goes up when a rookie advisor is immediately given a large investment account to manage. When Pat looks more closely at that account, she sees that a sizeable part of its assets are in slowpoke stocks. Things just don’t add up. And when thing don’t add up for a financial professional, something is very wrong.

* * *

Rosemary McCracken is a freelance journalist and fiction writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. Her first mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Debut Dagger in 2010. It opens when a frightened woman barges into financial advisor Pat Tierney’s office with a shocking request: “Look after my boy; he’s your late husband’s son.” The next day the woman is murdered and police say her seven-year-old child may be the killer’s next target.

Safe Harbor was published by Imajin Books this spring, and is available as an ebook and a paperback on; also as a paperback on and Barnes & Noble. Visit Rosemary on her website and her blog.

Safe Harbor is free today and tomorrow at

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Plot Bunnies and other disturbances of the writing realm

A recent Facebook discussion about being a Plotter, Pantser or Plantster brought up the unexpected appearance of plot bunnies while writing. They seem to appear no matter your writing style.

I was sure I was a plotter, even though I didn't go to the depths of others. I saw one writer who had spreadsheet after spreadsheet of information about characters, scenes and more. Made me feel like a piker!

I had my first romance novel completely outlined but by chapter three I was already adding scenes and whole chapters as well as many more characters. Hmmmm, left me wondering if I was truly a plotter when it came to writing.

Then I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, working on a new mystery novel. I started with nothing more than a dead body, a location and a couple of sketchily defined characters. Off I merrily went, writing away. I ended the month with two dead bodies, a couple of kidnappings, a heart attack, two arsons and more. Yup, the plot bunnies were rampant during the month of August.

Now that I'm planning for NaNoWriMo, I've come to the realization that I am a plantser - I like a little planning to be done, characters defined (main and a few supporting) as research about the area as well. In a mystery it's good to have researched about the type of crimes and any forensics you might incorporate. But other than that - plot bunnies, take me away!

So, are you a Plotter, Pantser or Plantster?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. #NaNoWriMo

I've started doing background research for my NNaNoWriMo novel. As I said earlier, I am taking my short story, Lost and Found, and expanding it into a romance novel. Same characters, same settings, different conflicts.

It's fun to make up a location but in this case I am using a real town. I initially found it when I researched small, rural towns that still don't have 911 service. Baxter Springs, KS was on the list. That was all I needed to use it and I didn't look any further.

I started working on a Pinterest board for the book, I like having visuals to work from even if they aren't exact, and discovered an interesting fact. Baxter Springs is on Route 66 and has a historic district for that history. Well, hubby and I have been planning a two month Route 66 motorcycle trip for two+ years now. First coincidence.

Today I started looking at town history, population and famous people from Baxter Springs. I discovered that Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts was born there. Um, Rascal Flatts is my favorite group! Coincidence number two.

From there I go to his personal Wiki page and discover that we have the same birthday! That makes three.

I think I am destined to write this book. LOL!

Friday, October 12, 2012

UPDATED: Picture Me

COPYRIGHTS [article originally posted on May 3, 2012]

As bloggers we often search for images to use in our posts. While it's tempting to just Google up something, then copy and paste it, "borrowing" images without permission is a big NO-NO. We, as writers, should be extremely sensitive to this type of copyright infringement.

If you don't think this is an issue, please read this author's blog - she was sued, even after she removed the offending photograph.

What if you find a photograph that you absolutely love and really want/need to use? Easy, you should contact the photographer directly. I've been fortunate to gain permission to use two this way, one for a book cover as well as inside and another inside a flash fiction compilation. It never hurts to ask.

UPDATE: Here are some additional links I found on the NaNoWriMo website to help find images to use in your blogs and web sites.
  • Deviant Art - MAKE SURE that it is marked for stock and the license lets you take it out of DA. Be safe and ask.
  • Stock Exchange - Free stock photos. (not the ones at the top and bottom, but that's apparent since it takes you to istock)
  • All Free Download - Has free vector stuff from around the world. Useful if you have something like illustrator or need a pattern.
Here are some sites I've bookmarked, some free and some public domain:

    I have found several resources that I use a lot for my various blogs and my flash fiction. The first is From their home page:
    Free images for your inspiration, reference and use in your creative work, be it commercial or not! Wondering about the morgueFile license? Click here It's also easy to add your own photos to the morgueFile. So, give back because this archive is for creatives by creatives. Why is it called morgue file? Click here and find out.
    When you find a photo you like, scroll all the way to the bottom to see if the photographer has any special requests. A few want a specific credit, many ask for a comment or email (I do both if I can) about how/where you plan to use the photo and some ask for nothing. UPDATE: Morguefile has changed the way they present things, if it's listed there, you may use it. I ALWAYS link to the original page as a courtesy.

    Another site is, designed specifically to put photos in the hands of bloggers and extend the online presence of the photographers. They are very specific in their linking requirement, but very simple to apply. Their about page tells us:
    PhotoPin helps bloggers find photos for their blog and makes adding them to their post fast and easy. Just search for any topic using the search box (ex: HDR, puppies, etc.), preview the photo, and click "get photo" to download the photo as well as the proper attribution link. PhotoPin uses the Flickr API and searches creative commons photos to use for your blog. (Note: we are not associated with Flickr in any way, other than powering our search results using their API.)
    The last is a fun clip art site,, where you can get .PNG files in 3 resolutions, plus SVG & ODG. I often use these to build my own graphic images. According to their terms and disclaimer page: is an online sharing service where users share free public domain vector cliparts, or share public domain photos and derive vector cliparts from those photos using clker's online tracer.
    The one thing all these sites have in common....they need contributors to grow. So if you are a graphic dabbler or a photographer with a stash of old photos, think about contributing to these sites. Oh, and I got my great copyright graphic at Clker!


    Monday, October 8, 2012

    November and YOU!

    In order to survive NaNoWriMo, I have to schedule all my blogs in advance - or nothing would get blogged but an update or two. Last August during Camp NaNoWriMo I did 15 days of quotes, spaced out over 30 days. That worked out well but don't think you want me to repeat that so soon and I hesitate to do a 15 facts about me since I've already revealed so much in my award blogs.

    This time I'm asking for some input as to what you would prefer. I won't post more than 2-3 times a week (my new normal) and I, personally, will post an update or two on my NaNoWriMo progress during the month.

    What is your preferred content during November?
  free polls 
    PS. If you're interested in contributing a guest post or author interview (including new book promo), please post in the comments.

    PPS. Wondering why the frog motif lately? For those that don't know, Froggi is my nickname. ;-)

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Now I've gone and done it.....

    Anyone notice the new badge over on the right hand side of my blog? Yup, it's official. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Am I insane? I haven't even finished my Camp NaNoWriMo novel first draft. EEEK!

    My initial plan had been to finish "Not a Whisper", my camp novel, by the end of Sept, edit it in Oct/Nov and publish in early December. Well, writing slowed down a LOT in September and October isn't doing much better. Too much life sticking its nose into my life.

    So, rather than rebel and do an EditNaNo, which I considered doing, I'm going to take my short story, Lost and Found  and try a contemporary romance using that as the prequel. I have had quite a few folks asking me to do that so I figured NaNoWriMo is the time to tackle it. I may not win, I may end up with a novella instead of a novel but it's the journey that's important. Right?

    For those that are interested, here is an excerpt from my short story Lost and Found [only .99 at Amazon]:
    The tears increased and Nancy “What’s wrong, Sarah?” Nancy grabbed Sarah’s arms, “What is it?” 
    “It’s Brian. He went to help Mr. Jacobs at the church and he should have been home over two hours ago. I tried calling 911 but there isn’t one.” She slumped down into the rocker. “I should never have moved back here.” The tears increased and Nancy grabbed a dish towel from the kitchen counter.
    “Don’t say that. We’re all glad to have you back home.” 
    “I thought we’d be safe here and I wouldn’t have to worry. Brian doesn’t know anything about the country. He doesn’t know how to protect himself out here. He could have been attacked by a grizzly. Or fallen into the pond and drowned.”
    Putting her hands on her hips, Nancy tried to look angry. “Sarah, you’re overreacting. We don’t have grizzlies out here and that pond is only two feet deep. Calm down. We’ll find him.” 
    “But he doesn’t know anyone here. He hasn’t made any friends yet. He says all the kids make fun of him because he’d rather sit at the computer than play sports." She absentmindedly wiped her nose with the towel. “Something bad has happened to him and it’s all my fault!” 
    A deep voice cut through her sniffling. “Excuse me ma’am. I have to agree with Nancy. You are overreacting but that just shows you’re a good mother.” Sarah looked up slowly – up and up and up. The man standing beside Nancy was at least 6’ 6’’. When she reached the top she noticed he was wearing a hat, one like state policemen wear.
    “I’m sorry, Sarah. I forgot to introduce you,” Nancy apologized. “Sarah, this is Carl Pierce our new sheriff. He’s only been in town for two months so I thought you two would have something in common.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth she knew it was the wrong thing to say. Sarah burst into tears again, accompanied by heaving sobs. 
    Nancy reached over and hugged her. “Sarah, calm down. Let’s look at this objectively. There’s got to be an explanation. Tell us again what Brian said.”
    Sniffling and snuffling, Sarah tried to remember. “He said he was going to help Mr. Jacobs at the church. He was so excited and I was busy so I really didn’t get any details. I just remember telling him to be careful crossing the highway and to be home by five for dinner.” She looked at the clock – seven-thirty.
    When Carl put his hand on her shoulder, she looked up into the most beautiful green eyes, more striking than any she had ever seen on anyone – man or woman. They went perfectly with his sandy colored hair and deep tan. She scolded herself. Stop it, your son is missing and you’re thinking about how good looking Carl is? You’re acting like a city hussy. You left that life behind, remember? She squirmed in her chair and sat up a little straighter.
    “We’ll find him, ma’am. Boys will be boys.”
    “Not my Brian! You don’t understand-” 
    Carl interrupted. “What I understand is your son is late coming home and we’re going to find him.” He turned and headed out the kitchen door leaving them both startled.
    “Isn’t he the greatest?” whispered Nancy. “He’s not only gorgeous, he’s nice to everyone AND he’s single.” 
    “Nancy!” Sarah blushed. “All I can think about is Brian. If something has happened to him, it’s my fault. He didn’t want to move here. He loved the city, riding the buses, visiting the museums and the library. Out here there aren't any buses. We don’t even have cable.”
    The title for the new book is currently "Home Again" but if anyone comes up with a better suggestion, I'm wide open to ideas.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    #IWSG: What? Me insecure?

    Nope, I'm not insecure, at least not this month. What I am is overbooked. I even posted a bit about it HERE and tried to set some priorities or goals. So far I'm doing okay, well, okay if you don't ask me about exercise. We've been on the road a lot in the last week and all routines go out the window. If I have to choose between eating breakfast or going for a 20 minute walk - yeah, no surprises as to which one get picked.

    I'm still hard at work on my mystery novel but I keep changing the killer. Why do I do that to myself? Now I have to go back and move one scene forward in time, can't give up the suspect too soon. I had hoped to finish my first draft by the end of this month. I'll be close but not done, partially because we're still traveling.

    Oh, don't understand the traveling? Well, if you aren't familiar with my personal blog, my husband and I live and travel in a 41' fifth wheel trailer. It's a toy hauler so the last 10' are garage space for our motorcycles. We were in Ohio for an RV rally, then moved to Indiana for some repairs and are now slowly working our way back to the eastern shore of Maryland and southern Delaware for family visits as well as our annual health appointments. We currently have two vehicles to be driven, hubby drives the Freightliner that pulls our trailer and I drive our pick-up, following along behind. Needless to say, no writing while driving.

    Of course I still think about my novel and the characters, thus my ever-changing killer. LOL!

    So, how are your securities this month!