Come along as I write …

An invitation to follow along my writing journey. Pray as my goal is to write three novels a year. Four would be cool but I would wonder about the quality of my work. I have read a lot of authors who are actually capable of that, and I applaud them. That is truly a gift.

My current novel is the sequel to “Romance Under Wraps,” which involved a thief and a homicide detective. My second novel is a standalone (maybe) which is a complete departure from romantic suspense. Might want to read this before “Glass Slipper” comes out. When? I dunno, I’m still writing.

If you’ve already seen my post about “Glass Slipper,” I have to let you know that it’s taken quite a turn with the characters. And while dubious as to some of the scenes, I read them to my husband (who is well acquainted with forensic, police procedurals, and behavioral analyses) and found those scenes real to life.

This brings me to the change in a few of my characters. The main character, Jack McCloud is still morose. His tech is a forensic scientist with degrees in both forensic science and behavioral analysis.

Needless to say, this puts detectives Catherine Cade and husband Rick Calhoun in new moods as they have to listen to Calhoun gripe about McCloud’s new tech and how McCloud has to, albeit somewhat unwillingly, defend her as she drones on about her follow up questioning of witnesses, friends, etc. (okay, not realistic in the real, real world) about the victim (victims?) and what made them tick, and why they were a victim. Then she builds a profile of the killer. But is she right?

Husband and wife detective team (yes, I know! That’s why it’s called fiction…) are skeptical, interested, preoccupied, and want to get to the point. Bottom line. After all they are just detectives. 😉

Calhoun and Cade. Meandering to the morgue once again to listen to Mercedes. Again.

What kind of twists could there be?

And who else shows up to the party?

So follow me here, on Facebook, and my website. https://www.claireosullivan1.com

And don’t forget “Romance Under Wraps”: https://www.amazon.com/Romance-Under-Wraps-Claire-OSullivan-ebook/dp/B08MB43BSL/ref

I think I Promised to write a Blog Today … Uh, yeah, I did.

OKAY, OKAY, since it’s been a bit over a month since I last wrote, I figure just perhaps since I posted on Twitter my blog site and website that I really should keep up to date.

So this is for Jack who so graciously sent me his hysterical blog link on being a lawyer with a sense of humor … in the event he’s checking in on me.

Hey, Jack!

What exactly have I been doing with my time? Uh.

ahem

I’m a night owl. That’s when I read, write, rewrite, etc. So I am working hard(ly?) on Glass Slipper, my third novel. Police procedural, forensics, my first serial killer novel. Yay! Cough, I mean …

Anywho it is a sequel to “Romance Under Wraps,” murder mystery, forensics, police procedural, romance. It wasn’t my title or cover concept, so no, to say it’s a romance would be misleading, but all is well if folks like romance with suspense. And gunplay. Etc.

“Glass Slipper” continues on in fictional (almost real) Whiskey River, where Jack McCLoud is the medical examiner. Morose. Trying to go straight. Trying to forget the dame who shot him, giving him a bad attitude (more so than usual) and a nice limp.

Mercedes Hall has a few secrets of her own. She’s the new tech in the morgue with a handful of secrets and a lot of Jack’s new problems and temptations.

Trying to go straight with a knockout redhead stepping into his world and shaking it up was not his plan.

Sharing an excerpt. This is how Jack’s mind goes (this of course, is up to change via the editing process. But you get the idea).

Gass Slipper concept

“I was still mulling over how I’d been shot.

How did I miss it? The woman I had almost married was an assassin. She wasn’t sent for me, but she’d used me up, and shot me. It was, at the very least, unexpected. My knee pained me, especially in the Dead Room, so naturally, it was hard not to think of that Mata Hari. I might be wrong, but ‘once bitten, twice shy,’ certainly seemed to apply. Nearly sleeping the big one at the hand of a crazy blonde could make a man cranky, and I’m not likely to take another broderick, emotionally or otherwise.

The thought of her and the ache in my leg dogged me as I readied the newest arrival, Lindsay Pratt, D.O.A., for viewing in the morgue.

Every building, every room has its own whiff test. The bleak corridor that led to the Dead Room was long, and smelled like formaldehyde, and bleach, and maybe a thousand dead bodies. That was the nature of my business as medical examiner.

I’m Jack McCloud, the lone ranger of the dead across Southern Oregon, our very own Rest in Peace Department.

* * *

I had a hard and fast rule: nothing jumps in the morgue so when a stranger comes through the doors, I tend to take note.

A live one walked in, jarring my thoughts. The blonde strode into the Dead Room, a knockout, a tomato with gams that kept on going like a kid’s toy with an Energizer battery. Her threads were a spending spree beyond my annual take-home and she was like a fine porcelain vase. In a tight-fitting cerulean dress, with thin straps over her shoulders, all those blonde curls spilled over her shoulders like a waterfall over a cliff. And her curves? Her curves were hugged by all that lucky, lucky blue.”

And that’s what I am up to!

At least for today

As for Jack? Here’s his link:

http://jocularious.com/

Thankful

Very happy to have sent off the review/approval my “final” manuscript off for the last time to the publisher. Nothing is ever set in stone and the publisher may want more edits, whether content, grammar, or wording. May the Waiting Game commence. I hit “send” at 11:57 pm last night. Oh, yeah. “Rules of Engagement.” So tired I forgot to mention the name of the novel!

Titles are always subject to change per the publisher, and I will be seeing a cover come maybe soon. Cool. Beans.

So, that said, I get to spend time catching up with my To-Be-Read (TBR) pile and chill a bit until she goes through it and asks for changes, etc. The nature of the writer’s life. Currently reading a serial killer novel. Hahahaha. Ahem.

There is nothing in the writing world better than a good editor. So many, many thanks go to her for cracking the whip.

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did she learn from him, or did he learn from her?

It’s tough to pigeonhole a genre sometimes and this is no exception. Is it a Christian fiction? Well, ya, just not heavy-handed. Is it a thriller? Oh most definitely. Is it a crime fiction? Depends on whether crimes against humanity count. Is it military? Yep, any mistakes, thoroughly my own. What about intrigue? Yes. Anything medical? Oh, of course, but any mistakes are again, thoroughly my own. What about romance? Um, some, clean of course. Is it bloody? I plead the 5th!

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I am pretty sure there should be a “Not for the Faint of Heart” genre, though. If you want the truth. Because I write different genres. Truth be told.

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Or can you?

Not to worry, ye faint-of-heart. My next novels involve forensics and murder (uhhh, that’s not a problem, is it?), cozy mystery with romance, spinster sisters cozy, and a novel yet to be announced.

Why dead bodies always show up in my sweet romances is beyond me.

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Updates and a testimonial … for fun

Hi ya!

“Romance Under Wraps” has been on the shelf since near the end of the dreaded COVID 19, 2020. A little over a year and chugging along. I’d like to share a review with you.

“Romance Under Wraps” was a labor of love that started with a contest a LONG, LONG time ago in a galaxy far away. My first published novel, with many *many* revisions, rewrites, more rewrites, then a handful more before editing. Then the professional editor. A romantic suspense. A thriller, some have said. Amateur sleuth, Catherine Cade, is a thief. A thief with retrograde amnesia, she steals one identity after another to dodge an ex-partner. Rick Calhoun, homicide detective, is getting in her way. Especially when he catches her red-handed on CCTV, in what appears to be stealing evidence from a locked evidence room. Checking a background cements his fears. Now there’s a confrontation for the ages. Let the chase begin, especially when the dead body of a city VIP tosses the two together.

From a reader:


Mollie

5.0 out of 5 stars Most Memorable and Moving Novel Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2021

“This was the most memorable and moving novel I have read all year. The plot took me through a whirlwind of emotions – laughter, tears, sorrow, and anger. The heroine, Catherine Cade, cannot recall a thing about her life prior to an automobile accident. What she can recall all too vividly is the abusive relationship she endured at the hands of a thief and con artist. This man, who convinced Catherine that she was his wife, taught her how to work a con and change her identity. With no real identity of her own, she became adept at changing her persona during frequent moves. Things changed for Catherine Cade when she moved to the small town of Whiskey River. Not only had her surrounding changed, but Cade developed friendships, a career, and a handsome love interest. Her attraction to a detective spurs a great deal of conflict, not only because she is a con artist but because Cade’s personality and values change throughout the book. Eventually, I realized that Cade was running away from both evil and good. She was running to a void, a continuous life of nothingness. The author has crafted engaging plots. No one is what they seem. No one seems to be trustworthy. For crime mystery lovers this is a fiction that you will enjoy with plenty of action, gun play, good guy and bad guy moments, murders, assaults. For mystery/romance lovers you will feel involved in the plot development of what appears to be a hopeless love between a con artist, Catherine Cade and a no-nonsense ex-Marine, detective, Rick Calhoun. For the cozy mystery lovers, you’ll enjoy how the plot develops to encourage the heroine to develop her interests in solving a murder and in opening a bakery. For me, I loved how the plot developed to show the ways in which God may choose to act in our lives.”

“Rules of Engagement” is with Deb Haggerty, Elk Lake Publishing, and her nefarious editor, Mary, who will red-pen my manuscript into another orbit (that means, “Fix this.” “Fix that.” repetitively). “Rules of Engagement” is in a different genre (sort of). A medical military *and romance* thriller. A global disaster loosely based (and I mean very loosely based) on a true story, started some time after “Romance Under Wraps” was mostly completed.

I have no idea what that cover will look like. Kind of hope it includes these pics which are representative of the two main characters (out of a gazillion other characters):

Oops…

Oops? Did you just say, ‘Oops?’

“Glass Slipper” is my next endeavor that I am currently writing. I have a beautiful graphic design for it, but we’ll wait for the real cover release. Heck sometimes titles and cover art are changed. But it might even look like a … glass slipper.

Cinderella Glass Slipper, Crystal Glass Shoe Ornament, Ideal for Cinderella Party Decoration, Girls Birthday Gift,, Weddin...

“Glass Slipper” is in a sequel to “Romance Under Wraps” in Whiskey River, a forensics/police procedural (& rom/com) about what else? Forensic science students. Dead ones. Someone wants them out of Whiskey River. Or so it seems. Morose medical examiner, Jack McCloud, meets his match in a new medical examiner’s technician, Mercedes Hall. Jack’s brain works in old movies, Bogie and Bacall’s “Key Largo.” Also Raymond Chandler’s, “The Maltese Falcon.” “The Big Sleep.” And sometimes – sometimes – those 1940s expressions slip out into the modern world in which he lives. And does what he can to solve a serial killer case and dodge Mercedes.

For my other upcoming novels, check out https://www.claireosullivan1.com/

And that’s all, folks!!

‘Sup?

I’ve been working like I am insane. No. Comment.

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This is my EDITOR… ahem.

Thus, I forgot to let my vast and varied blog readers (wait… what?) know that “Rules of Engagement” has been accepted by Elk Lake Publishing. Which is why I have been working my fingers to the bone, with my nose to the grindstone, dead on my feet, fingers on fire, etc., getting the manuscript vaguely edited, ready, and moderately polished for my editor. IF I get this edited on time it may be out by June or July 2022. God willing.

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Your mamma wears Army boots…

“Rules of Engagement,” the title, is subject to change per the publisher so let’s not get too attached to the title. Same with the picture concept that the publisher considers. Title and cover concepts, by the way, are rarely accepted, or even considered by publishers, so I feel incredibly blessed.

Here are “my” possible cover picture (they get to put them together and figure out if they are usable) concepts:

Scott Walker (not the governor so stop emailing me, yeesh)

Cheyenne Keyes. MAYBE. More silly than likely

Since the photos are still ‘up in the air’ (which they purchase if they approve of them), I got a few for free from Adobe Stock Photos. Naturally I thought of the next two too late.

The other picture is less whimsical and perhaps a wee bit more inline with the seriousness of the story (but y’all know I like whimsy).

Another MAYBE

Like! Comment! Share! Subscribe! OH and tell me WHAT YOU THINK about the title AND the pictures (just as an aside, titles are reused, recycled for movies, books, memes, etc.)

OKAY, off to edit.

Nerner Sarcastic GIF - Nerner Sarcastic Yay GIFs
Yay….

Rules of engagement: Submitted

Hallelujah!

The worst of submitting the required documents to any publisher (or most) has been completed. These fun things include a one page synopsis of the entire book (everything summed up from first to last line in one page);

… the cover letter (Dear Agent/Publisher, thank you for … etc.); the sell page (how will I manage to help promote this novel?); market analysis (How does it compare to the ten million books in the same genre? And what makes it ‘better’ or different than all the rest?); the biography, the blurb (the back flap of the book that may entice you to read); the tagline (oh that funny littlie line that hooks the reader into reading the back flap, then the book).

And of course the first three chapters.

Here is my biggest recommendation to those who are ready to submit. 1. Don’t write it into the wee hours of the night when you are sleepy.

Not like I would ever dare do that. <cough>

AND 2. Edit mother-lovin’ everything before sending it to the agent/publisher or even your editor. Because if you don’t, you may send off an automatic rejection.

And your editor, should you (and please do) employ him/her to edit your work, will find those many, many mistakes that may potentially be extraordinarily embarrassing.

Not like that would ever happen to me. <cough>

I rarely edit my social media and I am sure it shows. But I am not a professional blogger so there’s a lil’ something in me doesn’t care if a comma is off. Should I? Probably. But I don’t.

ANYWHO the whole batch was edited because my editor DID laugh as did I (thank the good Lord I didn’t send that embarrassing bit), but now the whole shebang is into the ether.

FlippinFanFantastic, I say. Now I wait because rejection could be around the corner. At which point, I may have to start this process over.

For now? Imma gonna read. I have another novel in the pike, ready to be written, but my brain needs a break.

Rules of Engagement AND the mystery theater

First, the murder mystery dinner theater was closed the night we were all dressed up and made it there on time (getting anywhere on time is a story in itself) – cancelled unfortunately due to some folks who were exposed to Covid and had to wait for another two weeks.

SO we got back just a bit ago. Funny, a lot of real groaners (puns), and fantastic food. A stabbing. Suspects. Confessions.

“So you accidentally stabbed him… three times?”

“Yes, that was unfortunate.”

I also finished the final draft of Rules of Engagement. HALLELUJAH. Now I am working on the synopsis. Then the cover letter, proposal, etc., etc. Beta readers, welcome! If you don’t know what that is, comment… 🙂

Special night afoot!

How exciting! For my birthday our kids got us tickets to a murder mystery dinner. Interactive.

Hopefully not too interactive.

That said, I spent all day yesterday and into the wee hours working on the last rather intimidating chapters of “Rules of Engagement” (working title). Complete rewrites. Complete.

I am a mere one half chapter from completion.

That deserves applause, by the way. Ahem.

“Rules of Engagement” is a military/thriller and romance. Scott is a good guy. Cheyenne thinks he’s all wrong (as in crazy). She’s a scientist. He’s die-hard special forces and hates (hates!) a babysitting job assigned him (protecting her.)

So folks, I need some great ideas on covers to submit to the publisher on my wish list.

You ready to help out? Like, post your thoughts, and subscribe!

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Am… Writing

Okay, can you say, ‘rewrite/edit?’

I am almost done with those pesky rewrites for “Rules of Engagement” (working title). The critique group is shredding it like mozzarella for me. My cover? Yet to be determined. However, if you wish to see some of what I envision, keep on reading. No, it’s not about weeping, mozzarrella, or Operation.

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Oww

That helpful process is great. Until you realize it’s like going into open heart surgery without anesthesia and car batteries are attached to the surgeon. Routinely zapping him awake or simply for fun. Who is getting his advice from the game, Operation.

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Yeah, like that

After that, it may go directly to the editor for giggles. Or I may withhold it until it’s as clean a copy so she doesn’t. Pretty much she will tear it apart. Re-shred.

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Editor’s motus operandi

Annnnnd this is me. Once she’s done with it.

That would be me

*The writing life*

Cover ‘in the works.’

“Writing is easy. Just put a sheet of paper in the typewriter and start bleeding.” — Ernest Hemingway

Thanks to Deb at elk lake publishing!

“Romance Under Wraps” has been chugging right along thanks to Deb Haggerty and the Elk Lake Publishing group!

Check out the cool stuff on their website and the YouTube trailer (hint: Go to the ‘O’ and find my trailer):

To the readers and reviewers, you guys rock.

Thank you also to the latest reviewer who said,

“Don’t let the title fool you; this is a suspenseful tension-inducing read. Yes, there is a touching romantic underlying theme, but my interest was a suspenseful crafted story. This novel meets and exceeds my personal interests in both suspense and romance. The author displays a solid knowledge of police work and captures a cops’ thought process and their dry humor (I know because I was once one).

The main character’s, Catherine, on and off again romantic relationship with Detective Calhoun, is peppered with humorous quick-witted barbs. However, you see a growing relationship with each other. The storyline also draws a line of Christian thought through it. A dynamic, dangerous, and complex novel compels the reader to turn the pages to the very end. And what an ending.

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