Dramaquill's All Things Writing

January 2, 2016

The Cozy Mystery Genre

Last fall I had an idea for a quirky character, followed by some snippets of a plot.  Soon, I had an entire town sketched into my notebook and descriptions of a half dozen characters who lived there.  Thus began my foray into the cozy mystery genre with a book I’m thinking of calling, “Quick – pass the Chips”.

Also called Cozies, the Cozy Mystery is an offshoot of crime fiction and is usually a more lighthearted read.  With less emphasis on sex and violence, the plots contain elements of humor and the detective, or sleuth is often a woman.  (Remember the TV show, Murder She Wrote?  Think Jessica Fletcher, amateur sleuth and mystery writer, played by Angela Landsbury.  She’s an excellent example of the type of character one would find in a cozy mystery).

Recently, I received some books from author, Mary McHugh, about a group of 50-something tap dancing ladies who end up solving murders in the locales where they are performing.  We had connected years ago because, as a tap dancing adult, I was intrigued by her idea to have this group of dancing ladies as her sleuths.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying the books. (I will be interviewing Mary later this month for my blog so stay tuned).  The titles are:  “Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses”, “Cancans Croissants, and Caskets” and “Flanco, Flan, and Fatalities.”  The books are available at amazon.com.

For more information on the cozy mystery genre, check out these links:
http://www.cozy-mystery.com/definition-of-a-cozy-mystery.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cozy_mystery
http://www.cozy-mystery.com/
http://www.marymchugh.org/books.html

 

 

 

 

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October 11, 2014

The Collapse of my digital publisher – what should I do?

During the summer, my digital publisher of my suspense novel, When Love Won’t Die, disappeared. The website disappeared. Messages to the CEO (both phone and email) unanswered. My book vanished from Amazon, B&N, RRP and all the other sites where it was being sold.

Still no correspondence from the publisher and no formal announcement as to the status of the company.

My contract states that if the website goes down for anything other than technical reasons and if the publisher appears to no longer be in business, then all rights revert back to the author…me.

So what to do next?

What do my loyal readers think I should do?

1. Query agents
2. Re-sub my book to other publishers
3. Self-publish my original book and query agents and/or
publishers for my sequel and other suspense novel?
4. Hold off until I hear something from my publisher

I’d love to hear what you think as I continue to ponder my next steps.

June 11, 2013

Sequel nearing completion

Just plotted out the last five chapters of my sequel
The finish line is in sight
Never give up

January 21, 2013

Genre Writing Blogs – Suspense

It’s great to share what others have to say and I’d like to do just that.

Here’s my call out to all those bloggers who write suspense/mystery/thriller novels, plays and/or short stories.

I’d love to feature a different blog each week with a short Q & A with the blogger.

Anyone interested?

Comment on this post, send me your blog url and let’s see what great information we can share with our followers and with each other.

March 1, 2012

Writer’s Digest article on Creating Suspense in Fiction

Writer’s Digest offers great advice on all aspects of being a writer and their website has lots of free information.  I just found this excellent article on Creating Suspense in Fiction and wanted to share it with all my readers.  I especially enjoyed the section about withholding information.  I enjoyed using that technique to some degree in my first suspense nove, “When Love Won’t Die”  http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Wont-Die-ebook/dp/B004AYD6YE

Check out this excellent article:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/5-simple-steps-on-creating-suspense-in-fiction?et_mid=540060&rid=2995854

 

February 15, 2012

Heroines and Villains in suspense novels

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One of the things I love most about suspense novels is the interaction between the heroine and the villain.  I love feeling the goosebumps appear when I know the villain is hiding and the heroine charges madly into the situation.  I cringe at the villain’s inner thoughts and wish I could warn the heroine somehow.

What do you think makes a good villain?

What makes a great heroine?

Here’s my list…

GREAT VILLAINS
1.    Some form of weakness that hinders them in some way
2.    A strong motivation for what they are about to do
3.    More dimension as a character than just being a villain
4.    Some small tidbit of backstory that perhaps asks for just a teensy bit of empathy

GREAT HEROINES
1.    The ability to be strong when/if necessary
2.    Not a damsel-in-distress
3.    A character who reads like someone the reader could have as a friend
4.    Someone who sets a good example as a woman
5.    A soft side

Who are your favorite heroine/villain pairs?  Two of mine are:
1.    Annie and Paul (Misery)
2.    Clarice and Hannibal (Silence of the Lambs)

Please feel free to comment.  As a writer, I’d love to know what makes readers like certain heroines and also which villains creep them out the most.

January 30, 2012

Visiting the classroom as a Guest Author

I was invited to speak to two classes of children (included 4th, 5th and 6th grade students) for literacy week.  The principal invited local published authors to speak to the kids about what it’s like to be a writer.

I’ve never enjoyed giving a speech.  The thought of being up there alone, and as myself, doesn’t paint a very interesting picture in my mind.  Let me recite a monologue as a fabulous literary character from a great work of fiction, and that excites me.

So how was I going to interest these young minds in two areas that many admitted they didn’t really enjoy doing:  reading and writing.

Instead of giving a speech and trying to figure out how to make them listen to me ramble on about my thoughts on being a writer, I turned the tables to them and started my presentation by asking them some questions:

1.    What makes a book interesting enough for you to want to read it?

2.    What types of characters do you enjoy?

3.    What kinds of stories interest you?

4.    What turns you off in a book?

The enthusiastic hand waving instantly got us talking.  Even those kids who said they really didn’t like to read much had comments on what types of stories they would prefer if they did have to read a book.

Next, I presented them with this question:

Have you ever read a story and wished you could have changed it?

This engaged even more enthusiasm as student after student offered their imaginative ways to improve upon stories they’d read.  They got excited when I told them that being a writer meant that they could make the story be whatever they wanted.  The characters would be designed by their imaginations.  Eager hands raised and creative ideas flowed as students, guest writer and teacher all engaged in the excitement of the writing process.

Finally, I offered a way to prompt them on starting a story.  I asked them all to close their eyes and ask themselves this question…What if? 

What if when I went to sleep tonight…
What if my lunch box was filled with…
What if the teacher could…
What if the stairs at school turned into jello…
What if I could draw something and it would come to life and…

Now the students were really excited and wanted to write their own *what if* story.

I also showed them some of the magazines, anthologies and market books I’ve had work published in and talked to them a little about what it takes to write an entire book and the process required to get it published.  They seemed most impressed with the fact that something that they could create could actually earn them some money as a career someday.

I hope that my visit helped convince many of them to enter the writing contest being held in our city next month.  I do know that I definitely helped them get a jump-start on tapping into their own creative ideas.

But the best part of the visit was watching them get excited about reading and writing. 

As a writer, what do you do to inspire those around you?

November 3, 2011

Kindlegraph – how to personalize your ebook

 
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My publisher posted this information a while back and I finally had the chance to check it out.

If you have an ebook and want to be able to autograph it for your readers, you can do just that if your book is offered on Amazon. It’s called a Kindlegraph.

Here’s the link to my book, “When Love Won’t Die”:
http://kindlegraph.com/authors/dramaquill

To find out more about Kindlegraph, check out this link:
http://kindlegraph.com/about

Note:  Right now, this autograph only works if you have a Kindle e-reader.

September 9, 2011

Writers Beware: Someone may be stealing your book right now!

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I’ve made it a habit to google myself and my book title monthly.  Usually I’m pleasantly surprised at the new sites that have picked up my book and offered it for sale in their online stores or new reviews from new readers. 

That wasn’t the case this month.

In fact, I found illegal copies of my book in numerous digital formats all offered for download at the following site:

http://download-file.net

They DO NOT have permission to offer my book for download, free or otherwise.

They DID NOT contact my publisher or myself.

They ARE STEALING from me and from my publisher.

My editor contacted them and so did I.  I got back a bogus link to click that apparently was the tracking page to this incident.  It was given a fancy incident number and everything.  But the page doesn’t exist.

I found someone else who’s had the same problem.  They also have tried numerous ways to contact the site owners but never get any response.

Isn’t it difficult enough for new writers to make it in this biz without the unscrupulous thieves who choose to steal from someone else in order to make money.

How do they make money?

If you want to download anything from their site, you pay $4.99 for a one month trial membership.  Otherwise, if you’re a non-paid member, you can’t download anything.

Writers Beward:  Download-file.net may be stealing a copy of your book right now!

August 7, 2011

Great blogs for writers of Suspense

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Well, it’s now August and officially, my holiday time is over.  I vowed that I would not engage in any work-related activities in July, which included checking work email accounts, blogging and, GASP, working on my next two books.

But I had to do it!

My creative side got more than its share of time this past few months.  I wrote three new kids’ plays (and watched them morph into productions), researched and wrote material for both of my new books and did a lot of work marketing myself and my first novel.

I was tapped out creatively.

Now that I’m re-energized and ready to get back on the creative band wagon again, I decided that my first post back would be to share some blog links for those of you who also write (and read) suspense.  It’s always a great idea to check out what other writers blog about, especially those in your genre.

So here goes…

http://vanessa-morgan.blogspot.com/

http://suspensebyanne.blogspot.com/

http://keepmeinsuspense.blogspot.com/

http://www.womenofmystery.net/2011/07/top-suspense-group-blog.html

http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/top-suspense/

http://harlequinblog.com/2011/05/tips-and-tricks-for-writing-romantic-suspense/

http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/blog-interview-no-54-with-suspense-author-marla-madison/

http://www.danamarton.com/

http://community.eharlequin.com/content/harlequin-romantic-suspense-author-blog

http://jarekkubicki.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/suspense-magazine/

and finally, here’s a HUGE list of suspense blogs from Networkedblogs.com…

http://www.networkedblogs.com/topic/Suspense/

Enjoy

June 14, 2011

Inspiration can come from anywhere

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My mind is always going at warp speed.  I can be working on one project and suddenly, bam, another idea pops into my head.  I’ve never been one of those writers who struggle to come up with the next idea.

I’m lucky – and I’m probably in the minority.  But, it got me to thinking one day.  Why is it so easy for some writers to become inspired with a new project and so difficult for others?

I don’t know about other writers but I think, for me, it’s being aware of the details of my surroundings.  I’ll give you some examples…

I have pets – dogs.  I’ve used their antics to craft children’s poetry, stories and plays. 

I own a performing arts studio where I’m surrounded by students from age 3 to senior citizens. Working with such a diverse group of individuals really gives me insight into what interests and entertains the different age groups as well as great fodder for traits for my characters.

I live in a city of approximately 110,000.  There are so many wonderful places to just go and people watch.  My handy notebooks are filled with physical descriptions, mannerisms, and expressions.  It’s also very picturesque in my corner of the world and on the advice of a mentor, I decided to set my suspense novels in different locations near where I live.

Do you have kids?  Watch what makes them laugh…cry…angry.  What keeps them interested? 

Many writers get inspiration from the daily news headlines.  Current issues can provide inspiration for articles and different slants on hot topics.  Crime stories can jump start a mystery or thriller.

We all have a myriad of people pass through our lives on a regular basis.  They all have a lot to offer us if we take the time to look for something about them, or in their lives, that can jumpstart an idea.

Many writers enjoy online ezines, blogs and newsletters.  Often, ezines and newsletters will send a writing prompt.  Try freewriting the next time you read one and see where it takes you.

An online friend of mine exhibited a really unique way of showing inspiration can come from anywhere.  Recently, her neighborhood was hit with a tornado.  She not only used her experiences, and the experiences of those around her, as great material for her blog, but also to inspire her creative writing.  Now that’s someone definitely making lemonade, or in this case inspiration, out of a terrible situation.

Look around! 

Observe!

Record!

Inspiration truly can come from anywhere, anytime and from anyone.  Be open to inspiration.

May 31, 2011

Bookdaily.com

Arts Blogs - Blog Top Sites Bookmark and Share BookDaily.com is pleased to announce that Jacqueline McMahon will be featured on the popular book sampling site – joining the ranks of the most famous authors in the world. As a featured author, the first chapters of McMahon’s books are now available to thousands of readers to sample – free of charge. At BookDaily, book fans can browse, search and read first chapters from a selection of more than 80,000 titles. McMahon is currently promoting When Love Won’t Die, a suspense novel about what can happen when your past catches up with you.Visit McMahon’s  website at https://dramaquill.wordpress.com and their BookDaily page as well http://www.bookdaily.com/userprofile/authorprofile Like many other authors, McMahon is making use of the quick and easy tools BookDaily offers for writers to market their books. Launched in May 2009, BookDaily has rapidly become the leading source of book samples by email. More than 10 million sample chapters have been distributed through BookDaily.com and through the site’s email subscriptions.  The site is a division of ArcaMax Publishing, the leader in consumer news and entertainment by email. Jacqueline McMahon  jacqueline@tbaytel.net

May 26, 2011

When Love Won’t Die

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Just found a new site that’s selling my ebook.  Thanks for Red Rose Publishing for continuing to help promote their authors and books online. 

When Love Won’t Die.

January 16, 2011

Promote your book on to the Best Sellers List

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Every writer today knows that writing the book and getting it published is only half the battle.  Much of the marketing and promotion is also left up to the writer and with all the tools on the internet, you CAN get the word out and if you’re lucky, maybe even end up on the BEST SELLERS list.

I did just that with my suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”.

Some of the things that I did:

1.      Held a booksigning at a branch of my local library  
         (In the future I’ll post some great ideas on how to attract people to your booksigning)

2.      Created pages on social networks like Facebook
          http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Jacqueline-McMahons-Writing/115755788486062

3.      Joined other sites like Twitter, Linkedin, and Jacketflap and get socializing with other
          writers, publishers, editors, agents etc.

4.      Used FREE press release sites to promote your book online

5.      Sent out press releases to all the media where you live (radio/newspaper/TV)

6.      Got reviews from those who have read it and have them posted online
          (I’ve got some at Amazon.com and Facebook already and also from a couple of
            book reviewers)

7.      Created a website

8.      Made postcards of the book’s cover and on the back put the following info:
          *    name
          *    website/book’s website
          *    where to purchase
          *    an enticing excerpt

9.      Got interviewed in a local arts magazine
          (You can also try getting press with local papers, TV and radio stations, plus online
           ezines and blogs)

10.     Joined online writers’ groups where to mingle, learn and promote

Keep promoting whenever you see an opportunity to network, but also, don’t forget to reciprocate by reading other writers’  books and offering reviews/comments on their blogs and sites.

November 19, 2010

Press Release

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What’s the best way to get the word out about your newly released book? 

How about a press release?

Just google the words “press release” and you’ll find lots of articles, “how-tos” and information about writing and sending a press release.   Below is a copy of my press release for my first published novel, “When Love Won’t Die.”

 

LOCAL Author signs first book deal

Thunder Bay author and entrepreneur, Jacqueline McMahon, signed her first book deal with mid-size U.S. publisher, Red Rose Publishing, earlier this year. Her anticipated suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”, was released in e-book form on September 23, 2010. Once one hundred copies of the e-book version are sold, McMahon’s book will be available in print paperback form as well.

There will be a book signing event on Monday, November 29, 2010 from 6:30-8:30 at the Brodie St. Library. Guests can meet the author, buy autographed copies of the e-book, enter prize draws and enjoy a short reading. Cake and refreshments will be served.

“When Love Won’t Die” is the first of several suspense novels McMahon plans to write. Currently, she’s working on the sequel as well as penning another novel in the same genre. All of her novels are set in northwestern Ontario, a backdrop that Jacqueline believes serves the genre well and one that, to her knowledge, has not been used in suspense fiction until now.

McMahon is not new to the publishing world and has successfully submitted articles on different aspects of the writing craft to ezines, websites and print publications. She also dabbled, quite successfully, in the kidlit genre, writing numerous children’s poems for many mainstream markets. Most recently she has been published in two of Writer’s Digest’s Market books (Screenwriter’s and Playwright’s Markets 2009 and 2010) and Hopscotch for Girls Magazine (June 2009 issue and December 2009 issue).

To purchase her novel, “When Love Won’t Die,” online, download it directly onto your computer, phone or e-book reader by visiting any one of the following sites:

http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Wont-Die-ebook/dp/B004AYD6YE/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289249395&sr=1-3

http://www.bookstrand.com/when-love-wont-die

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-whenlovewontdie-480604-149.html

http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?products_id=649

The e-book is available in many different formats including PDF, HTML, Kindle, Kindle for PC (free download) and zip file. Copies on CDR can be purchased directly from Jacqueline and autographed for gifts.

So now that it’s written, what am I going to do with it?

I’ve submitted my press release to all my local newspapers, radio and TV stations, independant magazines, my alma mater alumni association and online through my social networks.  So far, I have an upcoming interview in our local arts and culture magazine, “The Walleye” and hope to garner other opportunities to promote my book signing and my book with responses to my press release.

I’ll keep you posted.

Remember, it’s up to you, the author, to market your work and get the word out if you want to sell lots of copies of your book.

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