How COVID Impacts ME (and you)

Good and mixed news.

The good news is that the ebook How to Steal a Romance is on schedule, end of this month (July 31st in case COVID scrambled your calendar brain).

Top 30 Yay GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

I’ve set up signings in my town, and I’ve been asked for an interview with Inked Voices, who are chock full of new and established authors as well as editors, agents, and publishers.

Cheezburger Image 7009090048

That said, COVID, oh joy of joys, has slowed the presses enough to kinda tick me off. The paperbacks will be available around September.

Next on my list is Rules of Engagement. Oh yech. I mean, editing goes slowly. Sigh. Since How to Steal a Romance is coming out soon and very soon, I am whipping my way through a novella, a sequel to How to Steal a Romance.

Name? Currently, the name of said WIP is When I Was Dead. It’s How to Steal a Romance from Rick Calhoun’s perspective. Takes place? Of course, in Whiskey River, a small community in Southern Oregon.

The Last Breath – Raerei's FortressLooks dead to me

 

 

 

Then, I will return to finish Rules of Engagement. This is perhaps the most complicated of all of my works, a military/intrigue with plenty of romance and sparks in the middle of a kidnapping. You won’t find one soul in the first-person narrative. Instead, because of the plethora of characters, everything is in the third person, past tense.

States That Defend Us—Where Do Our Military Volunteers Call Home?

Other works, in the works: Glass Slipper, a noir sequel to How to Steal a Romance with the morose medical examiner and a new tech. He doesn’t like her. At all. She thinks he’s a pig. They’ll get along great…

Crime Scene Photography: A Complicated History

Next is a small town detective with zip experience, working to solve a serial murder. She is totally out of her depth and the only one in town who knows it. Alex must find another detective. Someone who knows what he/she is doing. And, a behavioral analyst. Alex and the Very Dead Doxy takes place in a rural community in Northern Minnesota.

Documentary: Hobart woman may have fed dismembered lover to ...

Anyone notice a small town theme?

Next? Murder in the Mist. Takes place, again in Minnesota with one minor difference. Small one. The main character’s only help is from Whiskey River, a woman with a past like hers. That could only mean homicide detective, Catherine Cade Calhoun. With her husband out of town, homicide detective Rick Calhoun, she can take a short leave to help her friend languishing in jail. What could possibly go wrong? Alex doesn’t know what to do with her, and the main character is beside herself, a witness to a murder, as the cultish madman hunts her down.

Jail Facepalm GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I have the skeleton of a novel called, The Corpse in the Cupboard, which lives to its name. Kit Russell awakens in a strange town, in a strange house. Alone. Of course, a bit freaked out, she scouts out the digs she was tossed into. Finally, as she seeks coffee, she opens a broom closet and out falls a you-know-what. Most unfortunately she knows who it is. After getting said dead body back in the cupboard, a knock on the door stops her scream and a private detective, seeking shelter from a storm (which conveniently knocks out the power and the phone), walks into the kitchen when Kit’s back is turned. Oh, mercy. When he opens the broom closet he starts yelling. No wonder! So, what happened? How did she get there? Why is the woman dead? And in a cupboard? Can she trust this alleged private investigator? Can he trust her?

crime scene barbie

Welp. That’s what’s up with me. 

How are you doing on your reading and writing?

 

I LOVE COMMENTS, so gimme a heads up, tell me what you think and how you’re doing! 

… How to Steal a Romance …

Catherine Cade has secrets, ones that she doesn’t know. Reaching those memories has escaped her, and she’s a tool, but for who? And why do so many people want her dead?

A nurse …

And baker …

And a thief … she runs from the only past she knows.

Alone, afraid, forgotten …

A cop, a murder, and Catherine Cade is now a suspect. Rick Calhoun, her nemesis, is the detective haunting her …

In a town too small to hide …

His version is mercy, but she sees blackmail …

Unlocking lost Memories is a nightmare … what is she?

A weapon, a woman, a warrior. But for who?

Stronger. Braver. FIGHTER. | The Ultimate Self-Defense Art For Women

But with all of that, is she safe?

Anywhere?

Can Calhoun help?

He will do anything, give everything, to keep her from harm.

Because only he knows her truth, but living to see it could be tricky.

The type of kiss of each zodiac sign - Cryptodictation

Today’s Job

The first pass edit of How to Steal a Romance passed the publishing house’s editing team with three whole blips, which I call a win. Fixed in 3 minutes.

 

Ftw Win GIF

 

Made those corrections and sent the manuscript back, and it is ready for submission to be published.

 

boom boom whoosh | Tumblr

 

Whoosh!

And anxiously awaiting to see what the cover will look like. I know what my brain says, but let’s see what their graphics team comes up with!

 

So anxious GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

So, what are you doing during the ‘stay-inside’ plague?

I am thinkin’ I need to distance myself from social media (mercy! I am already social distancing…!) to do some catchup reading and writing.

 

Baby Intense Reading GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Expect How to Steal a Romance on the shelves, KDP/Nook, etc., before fall. YEEEEKS!!

 

 

 

 

AIR

Military intrigue. Not my usual genre. Yes… yes. There is some romance. But more of a dude’s novel.

Image result for military man US

I ‘usually’ write romantic/suspense, however, several years back I started this military thriller/intrigue. By the time I finished ‘How to Steal a Romance,’ it was time to do a rewrite. This is a fictionalized novel loosely based on happenings in 2014.

I’ll leave you to guess what it’s about.

Image result for man guessing gif

Got a lot done in the past few days on the new novel. I find it truly amazing how much can be accomplished when not on social media… who would have thought.

Image result for jim carrey typing gif

Anyway, the next steps include: Finishing the last third of the rewrite. Putting this through the paces of my Grammarly and electronic reader. Send it to beta readers (whom I will need, btw, in the event you want a free copy). Then off to my Grammar Nazi who will also rip it to shreds. Then… a copyeditor and off to publishing houses out there and/or agents.

Image result for secretary falls down

My timeline ‘was’ six months to finish the rewrite. Well, I am almost done. So, the next goal, I continue now at three months to beta readers, six months or thereabouts to copyeditor, minus the copyedit, send off, acceptance by agent/publisher, and their edit requests.

Image result for manuscript

 

Total time: One and a half years. Max.

You are invited to pray. And that I get it right.

Image result for miltary man praying

Inching Ever So Closer to August!

In roughly 5 months Elk Lake will be publishing and I will be launching ‘How to Steal a Romance.’

 

book open

 

Team is up and reading/reviewing already. I have one slot open. Just one free copy to give away for a confirmed helper to launch this romantic suspense… Facebook, comment here, or DM on Twitter!

 

Image result for launch jpeg

THE UPDATE :

Progress is being made. The publishing house/creative graphics department is working on a cover. Yeeks! Can’t wait to see it!

Next, a professional website is close to done and thanks to Bob Phillips, webmaster. This is Bob (well, not really). I am apparently a pain in the neck with my emails and requests…

Image result for man making a website

I am finally on Instagram. Soooo I don’t really know how to use it yet, gimme time.  *AuthorClaire1 – got a few pics up…

Expedition in the garage getting fixed up for some road trips. Yay!

Image result for 1998 ford expedition

The launch team (minus 1) is so on it and I love you guys, you rock!

Image result for party

Whew.

 

Have you ever…

… finished a big project oh say like a novel and got a  contract and wonder what’s next?

Related image

YA.

That’s me. And freakin’ out a bit.

Related image

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If you have ANY wisdom do let me know. That’d be awesome. Novel is ‘supposed’ to be out in about 6 months. How to Steal a Romance, ’cause I know you wanna read it. Right?

Related image

Whew…

For the NanoWrimos among us, I suspect you’ve dented your couch and eschewed Thanksgiving as I have done (but not this year).

Image result for turkey roasted

50,000 words, one month, fingertips on fire, total focus.

jim carrey typing

WELL THEN. I am not quite there this year since I decided I really needed to work on those 5 novels already in the works since I began the Nano challenge.

cropped-i-before-e-except.jpeg

So, after a good chapter + that I worked on, I plowed through Thanksgiving (mostly… foodwise) and didn’t work on it and still was too full to work yesterday.

Image result for too full cat

 

 

 

 

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

How are you doing on your WIP? Oh, and I changed the WIP I am working on. Made more sense to me to edit that one.

voices are back excellent

 

Hola Hello Gutentag

I should add perhaps… bon chance (GOOD LUCK!). Bon courage (roughly, be happy, don’t worry…).

Image result for bonne chance mon ami

Have copyeditor, will travel. Before I sent her the MS I found a gazillion gaffs so… I fixed ’em, notified the agent who graciously let me dump the first submission of cover letter/proposal/synopsis/first 50 pages.

Image result for editing manuscript

That being a big, fat whew, I moved on. Now, it’s a condundrum.

Image result for conundrum

 

 

 

 

 

Should I really work on Murder in the Mist?

Image result for mist over a lake

Or… back to my romantic/comedy/suspense (noir), Glass Slipper? The immediate sequel to HTSR? A tough edit.

glass slipper2

(Image courtesy S. Spalletta)

What about the wee town of Olvegaart? Where a romantic/mystery occurs (some suspense)? Where the working title is Alex and the Very Dead Doxy?

Image result for forested river valley

 

 

 

 

Yes… doxy means lady of the night. Or day. Or whatever.

Image result for prostitute

Just needs a cleanup, okay a lotta cleaning up.

Image result for sweeping

 

 

 

 

 

AIR, military suspense/romance? Note: Imagination in overdrive. Again.

(Image, courtesy my brain)

 

AIR

 

 

I mean, that is done! But not vaguely edited. At. All.

 

 

 

 

Well…

Since I have been procrastinating I haven’t posted.

thinking jack black

Because… I have been procrastinating.

procrastination pill tomorrow.jpg

Got back into it last night until 2 a.m. My grammar-a-holic I can credit for crackin’ the whip and makin’ me git back to it.

 

Fearing ProWritingAid’s (PWA) incredibly slow process again, I tried the free Grammarly only to find that punctuation / proofing was not included. Oh, please.

facepalm rapunzel

So I plugged the whole MS back into PWA and typed away.

 

Funny thing happened on the way to (Damascus) this process. I submitted my cover letter/proposal/synopsis/50 pages without the PWA edit — to the agent.

 

MERCY. Should I tell her? I am hoping she is blind to my gaffs.  Otherwise…

IT crowd Moss and fire

Well, then.

Blink, blink.

I have a full plate, writing included. Driving me crazy. Mostly because I am not writing my fiction.

Reading is my current project to clear my cluttered brain-pan. I had one sitting on my shelf for 5 years (maybe more, like… 8?) so I started reading while I am using a stationary cycle. This gives me an hour of action-packed stuff and I cycle around 16 mph…

While my mph gets me nowhere fast, the read is getting me through chapter after chapter. In Washington, D.C. right now in a pretty decent crime thriller, so perhaps one could say my mph has taken me far.

Lonely writer. Lone (but not so) reader. Sad and lonely blogger.

Y’all can comment and like.

Done… well almost

Big sigh.

Image result for big sigh gif

Cover letter, proposal, synopsis, and first 50 page sent to an agency, and will send more off later.

Whew.

Related image

But not yet done. I have my final read-through, proofer, then editor.

Image result for editor with reading glasses gif

… as my Grammar-a-holic says… seriously?

THEN I am done and should it be requested it will be sent into the ether. If not? Meh… I will let it stew in a drawer for another year while I work on AIR. Or Glass Slipper. Maybe finish up Alex and the Very Dead Doxy.

thinking jack black

But for today? Done with that.

You … you talkin’ to me? Or writin’ …?

Perhaps why writers get frustrated at themselves, their agents, publishers etc. :

Let me see if I can put it in words that even the inebriated (writer?) might understand.
– Tom Robbins  

 

drunk woman

 

Had a hankerin’ for posting a new WordPress site. WHY? Oh, heck. I don’t know. I was frustrated (wait… am frustrated) with my website, and wanted to blog.

You know, like destroy everything techy in sight. I want to throttle something. Or the infernal internet, but I’d have to talk to the man who invented it and reach the end of the .com .net .org .everything else internet-y.

writer stupid computer panda

 

Here I will not focus on forensics but on writing and interviews. (this is also a picture of an agent’s desk. And you wonder why it takes more than a month to hear back…)

 

agents desk

So this is a short post.

BECAUSE I AM EDITING.

There.

 

 

 

Rules of Engagement

This is Scott Walker …

Rules of Engagement Scott in hoodie

You thought he was cute a long time ago. Now the cabby who came to your rescue after you realized your friend was murdered is dead, and Scott has the gun. Blood is everywhere.

He pointed it to your head and demanded your phone. You refused. He took it and destroyed it.

Scott Walker holding a gun and bloody

You fought back.

Angry, he taped your mouth, your hands, and threw you unceremoniously into the trunk of the dead cabby’s car. When he stopped the car and opened the trunk, you managed to free your hands and you grabbed your pepper spray. You turned and sprayed him in the face.

When you jumped from the trunk, you realized to your horror that he wasn’t fazed by the pepper spray and you’re in an enclosed garage.

He pulled you toward him by the hair and grasped your arms hard enough to hurt. He tossed you over his shoulder and pushed the door to his hideaway open. Scott Walker threw you onto a bed.

Scott Walker pulling Cheyenne's hair

The tears in your eyes did not match the fear and anger in your heart. You won’t go without a fight. You knew you are about to die.

He said, “There is nowhere for you to go. You’re here, and you will never find a way out. “But I promise you there may yet be mercy.”

You’ve prayed every moment and you don’t believe in God, but only divine intervention can help you now.

Through the duct tape over your mouth, you begged. He sat on the bed next to you and raised a hand. You expect the worst.

No one can help me now. Your tears simply fell.

Instead he brushed your hair from your face and called you by name.

And he said… “Cheyenne, I need you to trust me and I need your help. I don’t believe in hurting anyone. Forgive me for everything I did to get you here. But I need you, your expertise. I am praying that you will say yes. God knows I need you.”

Then he gently wiped your tears away.

“Whatever you need me to do to make you feel safe, I promise that within my power, I will give you. Even if you want to leave. But you’re safe, now.”

He removed the tape from your mouth.

You whisper, “I’ll stay.”

Then he wept into his hands and said, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.”

Scott Walker praying

 

Marketing…

So there I was, minding my own business in my Ham radio group …

Petition · FCC Ham Radio Exams Online · Change.org

*wish I had a nice setup like that*

During our usual chat time about radio, antenna stuff, the daily ‘control’ person asked about any new projects, not ham-related. I thought, well, okay. So when he got around to me, whatcha think I talked about?

whiskey river cade stealing from calhoun

Yep, “How to Steal a Romance.”

In an all-guy group. But after a moment of silence, it was all a’chatter about their wives that love romantic suspense. They all wanted my link.

Free marketing. What a thought. And almost as good as passing out business cards …

Rules of Engagement

While it seems as though I am slacking, truly, I’m not.

Besides having the first 18 chapters ‘largely’ (I use that word loosely) self-edited, and 14 chapters critiqued (all awaiting more from Beta readers, grammaraholics, copyeditors… etc., because it never ends), the title of AIR has changed.

Still the same medical military thriller but because there are aspects of military AND romance, the new name is “Rules of Engagement.”

Scott Walker and Cheyenne Keyes are from different worlds. He’s a military man, she’s a scientist. He’s a man of God, she’s a woman of science. He’s from money, she’s from Tornado Alley, Anywhere, Oklahoma. They don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.

The problem? Based on a true story (fictionalized), an airborne weapon 100 nanometers in size has been unleashed upon the world.

As scientists, military, and world leaders fall prey, two people have to up their game and run ahead of the impending disaster. There is no undoing the damage or going back. There are no do-overs when death has snatched a swath of humanity. There is only now. There is only hope.

There is only faith.

With swift work, and the sacrifices many others make, then there is hope for more.

Maybe

claireosullivan1.com