My rules for writing

Every author has rules for writing and rules by their favorite author. I’ve added John McPhee to my list.

Here are my rules…for what they are worth(not much):





Put that first draft away(by my experience, it’s crappy)





Revise until you can stand your writing.

Get other people to read it.


Send it to your editor

Revise until she/he thinks it can be published


Go back to the beginning of the list


Onto the next

When taking a job, there is always parts of the job that you can’t anticipate. As an independent writer, the work is never done.  There is the writing, the numerous drafts to craft the story, the nail-biting when you wait for your editor’s comments, finding the right cover, working with the formatter, uploading the b book to the right places, then finally the publicity.

That is never-ending. Press releases, book fairs, local fairs, contests, creating programs for local libraries, and so on.

Then there is moving onto the next project. For me the next one is almost done and have started on the second next project. Both of which are departures from my Edie Swift books.

I’m working on it–honestly!

Enjoyed this weekend, relaxed, caught up with friends, and didn’t think about work. But it kept coming up in conversation.

“What book are you on, the fourth?” Noooo, I’m doing revision work on my third book.

“Have you published your next book yet?” Noooo, I’m working the revisions.

“When do you think you’ll have it done?” I shrug my shoulders.

But I promise to continue the revisions after one more week of doing nothing…really.

I think all the interruptions in the past year have added up to a better book,at least I hope so.


breaks and other things

I’m working on revisions of my third Edie Swift novel. It isn’t going very smoothly–lots of distractions. This got me to thinking about what stops writers from writing.

Writer’s block: I’ve experienced it, but usually find that I don’t have enough information to continue the story, don’t have a clear view of where I’ve been or will be going with the story or the story idea is just plain stupid.

Silences: Experienced this lots of times, mainly because I’ve let other parts of my life come first–sometimes it has to. But all those interruptions add to what I want to say.

And days like today: the sun is shining, humidity levels are down, flowers are in bloom. Who can resist a day like today. I’ve advocated for “blue sky” days in addition to “snow days”(no one has taken me up on this) because we need to enjoy these wonderful times.

Hope your day is a joyous one.

Writing isn’t done in a vacuum

Writing isn’t done in a vacuum, writers read other writers, are friends with other writers. So I get a good belly laugh when reviews from writers are taken off a book’s sale site–what are those monitors thinking? Are they thinking?

When I decided to write a crime/police procedural novel these are a few of the books a read to acquaint myself with current writing. Most of the books were first-in-a-series because I wanted to see how those authors started.

First Degree Fudge by Christine DeSmet

Ava Oosterling wanted out of Door County, Wis. Hollywood was the place she wanted to be. Now  she wants out of that shark tank. Her dream is to return home and open a fudge shop. But soon she is a suspect in a murder case. Did she bring the shark tank with her?


On the Road to Death’s Door by M.J. Williams

What does Emily Remington, retired police officer, do during retirement? See the country in an RV with her husband and solve crimes.

Bad Policy by James M. Jackson

Seamus McCree is greeted by homicide detectives when he returns home from a business trip. How does he know who murdered the guy in his basement? He was out of town. Well, he has to find out because he is the prime suspect.

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

Riley Spartz, investigative reporter in the Twin Cities area, delves into two cold cases. Two women named Susan, murdered exactly a year apart. Will it happen again? She tracks down the killer while filing reports on current stories, dealing with office politics, and the death of her husband.

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin.

Henry II of England asks the King of Sicily for aid. Some one is killing children in England, and the Jews are being blamed.

Vesuvius Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar, aka Adelia, aka Dr. Trolula, is sent. But she needs to keep her identity as a doctor hidden or be accused of being a witch.

All good books to read. Gave me some ideas on how to begin a series. Hope you find one you enjoy among this list.

What’s in a Title?

Working on the final revision, maybe, of my second Edie Swift novel and still don’t have a title for it.  But there are possibilities.

The original title was Whistling in the Dark. Nice title, it reflects Edie’s struggle to deal with the emotional aftermath of her beating, but lots of books have that title. The next was A Steady Heart, another good description of Edie’s internal struggles and what it takes to stay the course . Again, a well used title. Then Two Steps Back, Dej Vu, All Over Again– the last book started with a murder and Edie’s waffling about the changes in her does this second book. But you had to read the first book to understand either of these titles.

So, what’s a gal to do–punt?


First Book Festival

There’s been a lot of firsts this year for my writing: my first book published, my first book sold, my first book launch, my first panel on writing, and now my first book festival.

Edgerton hosted its 10th Annual Sterling North Book and Film Festival. Sold some books,talked to a lot of people. I enjoyed the day.


Independent Bookstores

Independent bookstores are wonderful. I knew that before I became a self-published author, I am even more grateful now.
I make it a point to browse and buy books from these stores. I like the mix of main stream and eclectic books they have on their shelves. There is always a book that is calling my name ( I can walk through department stores without buying, but put me in a bookstore and I always walk out with something.).


The King's English 1511 1500E Salt Lake City,UT

The King’s English
1511 1500E Salt Lake City,UT

The moment I walked through the door, I fell in love with this bookstore. It is now a must stop when I am in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Their selections are fantastic.

Mystery to Me 1863 Monroe St Madison, WI

Mystery to Me
1863 Monroe St
Madison, WI

There are books here that you can’t find anywhere else. Self-published books, small press books which are in search of readers. And it isn’t only mysteries that are on the shelves here–check out the children’s section.

Julie's Java House 409 N. Ludington Columbus, WI 53925

Julie’s Java House
409 N. Ludington
Columbus, WI 53925

I know, this isn’t a bookstore, but Julie’s does sell books, and music, by local authors. Her coffee, pastries, and sandwiches are good too.







Today was the day. I got up early, for me it was to be Christmas in July, the proof copies of my book were to arrive. I listened to the birds, checked the weather, read the newspaper, took the car to Madison to be serviced, ate breakfast at the Jet Room, then, when I got home, checked the mail box. Nothing!  It was 12:11pm, and they weren’t here. How could that be? Where were they? And what was I going to do with the rest of my day? I had plans, but no back-up plans.

I read a book, don’t remember much of what I read. Took a few photos. Rummaged through the cupboards for something to munch–really should bake something, but it would only make me fatter. Looked through the fridge for something healthier to eat, but the fridge really needed to be cleaned–wasn’t going to happen today. What’s a gal to do? Wait. I can’t. I want my books NOW.

It didn’t happen.

The next morning, only difference was that I brought the car home. It was 9:43am. And there they were. Waiting for me on my doorstep. I haven’t been so eager to hold something since the births of my babies and grandbabies. summer 2015 050

           summer 2015 051

Aren’t they beautiful!

The work isn’t over yet.

I was asked recently how long it took me to write my novel, Enemy Within. I said, it depends on how you measure it: sixty years, if you use when I first thought about becoming a writer, or three years when I started the actual research and writing of Enemy Within.

Since I decided to publish independently I have gained a new respect for the people and work it takes to bring a book to market. Through the organizations I’ve joined, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, I found someone to critique, edit, and format my book, and give lot of support and encouragement; the people in those organizations are wonderful. The cover artist I found on my own, a neighbor who is a graphic artist.  The next step in bringing a book to market is a hard one, publicity.

This is where it starts.  Presenting Enemy Within

 Indian Lake Book Cover_FINAL_front-page-001Available for e-book pre-orders at:

Hope you enjoy.