Tag Archive for: WIP

Clicking Our Heels: No New Year’s Resolutions Because Our Noses Are to the Grindstone

Our Heels – No New Year’s Resolutions Because Our Noses Are to the Grindstone


To enter for a chance to win Paula Benson’s Let it Snow and Debra H. Goldstein’s One Taste Too Many just
comment on this blog with your what you are working on whether writing or in some other area of life. Good luck and happy reading!
— winner will be announced next Wednesday on The Stiletto Gang Facebook page
– https://www.facebook.com/stilettogang 

people make New Year’s Resolutions, but the Stiletto Gang is a busy group.
Today, we’re going to tell you what each of us is working on and how it
differs, if it does, from things we’ve written in the past.

Julie Mulhern – I am currently plotting
the ninth Country Club Murder – more Ellison, more Anarchy, more murder, and,
of course, more Mr. Coffee.

Juliana Aragon Flatula – I recently was
invited to submit to the Colorado Online Encyclopedia by the Colorado Poet
Laureate, Joseph Hutchinson. It will help K-12 teachers search online for
poetry using key words. I submitted ten of my poems and look forward to seeing
the website.

Cathy P. Perkins – I’m currently working
on the sequel to The Body in the Beaver
which just won the Claymore Award (squee!). I’m also slowly moving
forward with a more literary mystery, a book I’ve wanted to write for years,
but promised not to touch until after my father died.

Kay Kendall – My first two mysteries
are set in the late 1960s and feature a young woman named Austin Starr. She
becomes an amateur sleuth in order to prove her new husband is not a murderer,
and then she continues when her best friend becomes a prime suspect. The book
titles are from Bob Dylan songs:  Desolation Row and Rainy Day Women. My third mystery debuts in early 2019 and is a
prequel about Austin’s grandmother, set in small town Texas during the Roaring
Twenties. Because I have no emotional attachment to that decade, it was easier
and more fun to write. The prequel is called After You’re Gone, also the name of a tune that is still covered by
artists today, including Ella Fitzgerald and Fiona Apple among many others.

J.M. Phillippe – I feel like I am
really leaning in to world building these days, and really enjoying creating
worlds for my characters to run around in. 
It does make it harder to come back to the actual plot sometimes though.
Bethany Maines – Ohhhhh. I’m not sure
this is a conversation we have time for. I’m working on another sci-fairy novel
to be part of the Galactic Dreams universe that I share with two other authors
(Karen Harris Tully and J.M. Phillippe). Then I’ve got a Christmas mystery
novella that may or may not get done in time for Christmas, a literary
thriller, and another San Juan Islands Murder Mystery novel.

Debra H. Goldstein – I’m working on
Three Treats Too Many, the third book in my Sarah Blair mystery series while
preparing to launch the series’ first book, One Taste Too Many in January. I’m
also working on a group of new short stories.

Linda Rodriguez – I’ve been making
notes for a literary novel that my agent wants me to write. It will be a
different experience from writing the mysteries. I think it’s going to take a
longer time to completion. I’m just sort of feeling my way through it right
now. I have written literary short fiction before, but not for a long time. So
I’m really looking forward to it.

Shari Randall – I’m working on a
standalone. It’s a thriller with humorous elements based on a character in a
short story I wrote called “The Objective Case” in the Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder anthology. She’s been bugging
me to write her into a novel for years – I’m having a blast!

 TK Thorne – I’m stepping way out of my
comfort zone with my new Magic City Trilogy. My previous books have been
historical fiction set in the ancient past about strong women, given no name
and one line in the biblical stories (Noah’s wife and Lot’s wife), as well as
civil rights era nonfiction. But House of
, the first book, is set in current time with a different kind of
strong woman – a police officer with abilities to see glimpses of the past or
future. I called on a previous career in law enforcement and mixed it with
large doses of imagination.

Paula Gail Benson – I’m working on some
darker stories now. Learning how to respect the villain’s rationale while still
making sure justice prevails is a challenge!

AB Plum – Although I’m writing a
paranormal romance trilogy loosely based on The
Wizard of Oz
– quite different from the dark, psychological thrillers
series I recently finished, the major themes – family and misfits – remain

Dru Ann Love – Because I’m not a
writer, my blog, dru’s book musings,
keeps me busy.

Judy Penz Sheluk – I’m working on book
3 for both of my mystery series (The Glass Dolphin and Marketville), but I’m
also starting to do research for a collection of non-fiction essays, as well as
a non-fiction novel. The non-fiction doesn’t have a mystery element.

On writing

authors have a book—or part of a book—that they don’t talk about much. The
project that refused to take wings. The practice manuscript. The story that wrote
itself into a corner. The manuscript lurking
under the bed with the dust lions.
have two failures to launch.
first is set in the 1920s and was to be a romance between newspaper columnist Tinsley Ledbetter and bootlegger Nick Woodfield.
did an inordinate amount of research on the 1920s (I love research. It’s a
rabbit hole that can lure me away from almost anything). I adored the heroine.
I didn’t adore the book. I put it aside.
forward three plus years.
recently looked at Tinsley’s adventures with the idea that she didn’t need
Nick. What she needed was to solve mysteries. 
years when Tinsley languished, abandoned and almost forgotten, on a hard-drive
changed my writing.
Before: She forced a laugh. It sounded brittle,
like it might break into hysteria if anyone poked at it, so she hurried to wave
the sound away with a flip of her slim fingers.
After: She forced a laugh. It
sounded brittle, as if it might break into hysteria if anyone poked at it. That
wouldn’t do. She waved the splintery sound away.
first change—I used a preposition when I needed a conjunction. Like it might break should have been as if it might break. An easy fix.
second change – I added a sentence. That
wouldn’t do.
It gives the reader a peek at Tinsley’s thoughts.
third change – I deleted
so she hurried to wave. Why? It’s telling. I told the reader about
Tinsley’s intent. It’s better to show her actually doing something. Namely,
The fourth
change – I added splintery and
deleted slim fingers from the last sentence. Why? Splintery describes a sound.
Slim described Tinsley’s fingers. The problem? In theory we’re in Tinsley’s
head, would she describe her fingers?

I’m not sure if
Tinsley will emerge from that old hard-drive behind. If she does, I have loads
of work to do.

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. 

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. 

Her next book, Clouds in my Coffee, releases on May 10th.

I Owe, I Owe, So Off to Blog I Go!

By Laura Spinella
Panic mode. I owe a blog. It’s two plus weeks until Christmas; I haven’t bought a single gift, and I owe a blog. My regular part-time job at the newspaper stops for no one. Ever work at a newspaper? News staffs endure worse hours than the ER at Cook County Hospital. My beat, while a tad tamer, isn’t much different with two front-burner stories slated for my byline. News stops for nothing, certainly not holidays, and definitely not a blog. But never mind that, I still owe one.

A couple of weeks ago, a dream job that is a dotted line to the publishing world fell into my lap. I’m not at liberty to spill the details, but let’s just say you couldn’t make it up. Hopefully, it will replace the newspaper gig, but in the meantime, I get to do both. Oh, yay! That and I also get to write a blog. So far, the new job is crazy hectic with bizarro hours and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants directives. I’m okay with that. While I wait for the Lifetime people to call, I can busy myself with a cash-in-hand challenge. The perks are kind of cool. Just this week, I spoke with two bestselling authors! Very nice peeps, those mega bestsellers. I get to do the new job from home, which you’d also think would be a plus. Actually, it’s been the bump in the road. Book writing and newspaper work moves at my pace, meaning I deal with interruptions as they pop up. There’s something about a six-month old kitten flying across your keyboard while taking copious author notes that isn’t quite as cute as it sounds. Well, like anything new, glitches are to be expected. In between working the insane and fascinating new job, I owe a blog.

Add to this the endless treadmill of promoting BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. (makes a great holiday gift!)I went on a binge a few weeks back and sent copies to bloggers we’d missed during its debut. I haven’t heard back from all of them, but one did manage to put it on her radar. Happily, luckily, gleefully, she found favor with the book. And while I could have spent a good chunk of this week trading complimentary emails with her, I had zero time penciled in for self-adoration. Two, “I need it yesterday,” jobs, plus, you guessed it, I owe a blog. Of course, strategically woven into the psychedelic tapestry of my day is a WIP. This past Tuesday, I started feeling the stress of my Ringling Brothers juggling act. I was tearing through a late chapter revision, having changed the name of a minor character. I’d decided too many characters’ names started with a vowel. A seared-to-my-mind memory from a book club reader prompted this fear: “I would have enjoyed your book more, but so many of the characters names started with an M, I got confused.” (I’m sure as an author you eventually reach a place where crap like this doesn’t stick. I’m not there yet.) So along with banning the letter M from my WIP, at least concerning names, I launched a preemptive strike to keep complaints about vowel sounds to a minimum. Only after completing the change did I realize I’d given both the character and Isabel’s cat the same name. What a mess. But I couldn’t fix it, as the alarm had sounded announcing the afternoon session of musical jobs. No worries, I’ll get back to my WIP soon. There I’ll spend a chunk of coveted writing time with a 377 page, one-by-one search and replace. In fact, I’ll relish it, because despite cash flow or an incredible opportunity, that WIP is what gets me moving. It’s important not to lose sight of that. A little stressed, slightly overwhelmed, wishing Rudolph would postpone until Valentine’s Day, I’ll still be excited to sit down with it. And I’m going to do just that… You got it, as soon as I don’t owe a blog. 
Happy Holidays to my fellow Stiletto Gang and all our wonderful readers!