So impressed…

3 11 2016

I had the very good fortune to meet Judy Penz Sheluk some years ago at the fabled  (and sadly, deceased) Bloody Words Mystery Writers Conference. We’ve kept in touch since and I always like to hear from her, but lately she has zoomed on, winning all sorts of awards for her second novel, and I just had to mention her here both to say congrats and bask in reflected glory. You see, we once had a discussion over Tim’s oatmeal and she taught me about that, too. (It is surprisingly good.) I’ve learned a lot from Judy.

She’s a powerhouse. Just sitting by her sets your energy to a high vibrate – she is kind and encouraging, but she just goes. It’s like driving on a highway next to a Porsche. You feel the slipstream and you want to go faster, too.

An example is her website: (click on the image)websiteheader3

It’s stunning (as are her awards). In addition to writing two excellent novels and countless short stories, she’s got marketing down, big time (as the evil T would say). I watch from the sidelines, feeling the breeze and appreciating the energy. She is a professional writer. Me, an amateur. I rather suspect it will be ever thus. For one thing, she gets things done. For another, she gets a ton of things done. Me, I dabble. (ergo my Masters degree and no PhD – focus is difficult, and I hate paperwork.)

It’s well worth spending some time on Judy’s website, even now during Nanowrimo. For one thing, you will see how a professional website should be set up. But beyond that, the site is packed full of reviews and interviews with other authors, information on the publishing journey, links to writing associations and groups, even information on antiques.

It’s utterly splendid and can give you hope when you are in deep into your November writing and realize you are hopelessly lost and you will never be good at writing and life sucks and all that – then look at Judy’s website and realize that her first novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose. was published only this year and she has another one out already , Skeletons in the Attic, and who knows where she is headed next!

The website is a motherlode of information. Everything from how to name your characters to how the whole publishing thing works. It’s written in an easy, “you can do it” tone, and I find it cheering to see all the new release reviews.

Of course, I’m still toiling away at my books and stories, being more of a Ford Focus (go fast occasionally, slow right down unexpectedly) kind of writer. I’m glad I get to see Judy whipping past on the left.  I know she’s working hard, doing all the things she should. It is wildly impressive. Check out her site. You’ll be impressed, too.

Better still, read her books. I don’t usually read cozy mysteries as I prefer my mysteries darker and colder, but Judy’s are turny and twisty enough I can’t see what’s happening until the end. I like that. Plus now I want to own an old house and an antique shop and live in a small town. I want to hang out with her characters and slap the bad ones. I can’t wait for novel number THREE!

For now, THREE cheers to you, Judy, for your well-deserved successes. I hope you don’t mind if I look on and maybe learn a few tips!

 

 

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Just that kind of summer…

22 07 2016

36fa0fcd251e8234e645b8f252fbf615I’m sitting here in the kind of heat that reduces me to tears anyway, but what IS is about this summer? It’s hot, even for the climate change deny-ers. It’s stormy. Animals are being fried in closed up cars again, and I have no doubt babies are as well. People are shooting people. People are yelling. The terrifying RNC. Soon to be followed by the DNC.

People are driving cranky, swerving in the heat, blasting music out of their windows to protest their lack of air conditioning. Motorcycle drivers are angrier in their leather suits. Can’t say I blame them. Horns. Sirens.

The only cheerful people are the road workers, who have adapted to the heat.

And in amongst this are the losses. My dear Aunt Colleen, one of the kindest women I know, passed away suddenly. A dear friend of mine watched her long time companion ease into death. So many are not doing well, so many are taking those final steps. Perhaps my younger brother is right and these are the end days and all the nice people are being checked out ahead of the disasters. All I can say is, “Hello? I’m still here!!!”

Mind you, so is he.

It’s the kind of summer where you want to sit with your feet in the water somewhere, listening to the waves and bird call, and sipping a series of tangy beers that are light on the tongue. Turn off your phone. Shut down Pokemon Go! Move occasionally to flap away an errant bug. Read. In the SHADE. Read light things like the crazy fun cozies by MaryJane MaffiniVictoria Abbot Melodie Campbell, and  Judy Penz Sheluk. Scary stories like those by the admirable Rick Mofina. Thrillers like those by my newly found fave Alex Marwood.

maxresdefaultNo romances. It’s too hot for romance. Even thinking about a hug is enough to set a sweat cycle off again and trust me, it ain’t pretty. If women glow, I am a firefly these days. And my hair….well, it’s best not spoken about. It’s broken.

No one smells nice.

Mind you, the pheromones are flying about…

Hang tough, world. It doesn’t have to be the end times. Just treat people nice, even if you are a sordid little puddle of malodorous sweat. Be kind. Stop shouting. Have a cool drink or a sip of soothing tea.And pray or dance or hop for all you are worth to whatever deity you may or may not believe in that this fall will turn out all right.

Special hugs to my cousins, who have lost another of the remarkable family we were all lucky enough to grow up in. Love to you all.

And thanks to Philip Hill, who sent me this perfect photo. (Photo by Patrick Joust)

 





Self-Love, or geez, some writers need to get a sense of perspective!

14 02 2013

Okay, writers out there – here’s the thing. I KNOW we’ve all been told we have to develop our “platforms” and get known and be followed and all that such stuff, but we need to stop the self-adoration long enough to realize a few hard truths.

1. If you are self-published, make good and sure someone else has edited your writing for you at least a couple of times before you start flashing it about. It’s like smiling with spinach in your teeth to wave an unfinished book in people’s faces.

2. Be perhaps a bit certain that your story has merit. Have you read lots of books in your genre? Are you writing good stuff or are you trying to catch the latest curve – zombies, erotica, whatever? Unless you are insanely lucky, this will not make you rich or respected. I say “perhaps a bit” because a lot of tripe gets sold in huge numbers and while that makes me gnaw my fingers to my elbows, I can’t be responsible for the taste of the audience. So the best of luck to you if you can write sloppy derivative garbage and sell it.

3. Cross postings are boring. And annoying. I have one dear friend or two who posts their announcements in a variety of places, OFTEN MORE THAN ONCE. A lot of these places have the same members, so we poor facebookers get an onslaught of postings all about the same thing and see nothing else for days. This makes me want to go to your home, pick up your computer, and smash it on the ground with extreme prejudice. Spread announcements out if groups overlap. Keep track of them so you aren’t posting the same thing everyday. And don’t be so damn unrelenting about yourself. You may be interesting but no one is that interesting. Don’t post every damn blog posting in every Facebook group. If people like your writing, they’ll follow your blog.

4. Develop a sense of humour about yourself. Giles Blunt, a man who writes grimly dark and wonderful mysteries, and who is a success at it, has a hilarious self-description on his blog. I’ve always loved his writing, but now that I’ve read his blog, I want to meet him. Which means, since imprisonment for stalking isn’t my favourite thing, I will have to buy more of his books. (Many thanks to Judy Penz Sheluk for steering me to this blog, and hers.)

See, here’s the thing. We readers WANT to like new writers. I WANT to get to know new people, ideas, approaches. I read probably seven to ten books a month, easy, and I’m one of those good customers out there. So you don’t need to beat me over the head with stuff.

Write well. Post rarely. Have something to say. Whisper funny stuff in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere.

Sending all of you wonderful writers out there much love for Valentine’s Day.

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