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Monday, November 11, 2013

Crime Bake

I came back from the 2013 Crime Bake yesterday afternoon. I had a wonderful time, met many other authors (both published and unpublished) and went to some great training session and panels. During a Masters Class on Pacing done by Paul Doiron, I suddenly got an idea of how to turn my story, Transmutation: Arizad (I posted the prologue a few weeks ago) into a paranormal mystery. I started making notes right away.

The guest of honor this year was Meg Gardiner, who was very genuine and easy to talk to. She dressed up in costume, like the rest of us, at the costume banquet (a Hawaiian shirt and grass skirt - which was exactly what I wanted to wear, but couldn't find a grass skirt!).

Next year's guest of honor will be Craig Johnson, so I'm really looking forward to that - I love the Longmire series!

At breakfast yesterday morning, Hank Phillip Ryan sat next to me. I must say that I was very impressed by her. For a woman as accomplished as she is (investigative reporter and author) she was very down to earth and willing to help those of us still struggling to get published. She gave all of us at the table her cards and took cards from those of us that brought them (I'm definitely having some cards made!) and told us that we could contact her any time.

So, I have to say that I had an even better time than I did at last year's Crime Bake. I can't wait for next years!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Writing without an outline

Read an interesting article by Steven James as guest blogger on Brian Kerns Editor blog for Writer's Digest: "6 Secrets of Writing a Novel Without an Outline." I found it fascinating and vindicating as that is how I also write. I even commented on the blog (something I never do!)

If you, too, write without an outline, you will also find it interesting. You can read it here:

6 Secrets of Writing a Novel Without an Outline

Sunday, October 13, 2013


It's amazing. You think that if you're not actually "writing" you're not "working." But that is not the case at all. There is posting on your blog and/or Facebook page. Then there's editing. And that's what I've been doing. I've been working on a story to submit to a contest and of course I put it off until the last moment - today is the 13th and the cut off is the 15th.

I was all set to submit when I read the max word count - 4000, and my story is 4637! So I've been "editing" or cutting things out, in other words. Getting rid of unnecessary adverbs (I never even realized I had so many!) and passive voice passages - was counting is 2 words versus counted - 1 word. Now for one last read through to make sure I didn't aggressively cut out something necessary and I will be hitting that old Submit button.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Very true!

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book. 
Jane Smiley

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Arizad: Transmutation

This a story I've had in the back of mind for awhile; I'm thinking I will work on it once I finish my current project.

Arizad: Transmutation
She crouched in the underbrush, hiding from the hunter and the full moon. The shadows cast by the trees and bushes camouflaged her blonde fur. She panted softly with fear. She closed her green eyes and saw again her mate lying in the clearing, bleeding and possibly dying. A quiet moan escaped her. She heard a soft noise, a footfall; her eyes snapped open and her pupils expanded to absorb as much light as possible, so she could see him as he came near.
Walking slowly, he passed by her hiding place, peering from side to side, looking for her in the shadows. In his arms he still held the gun, the one he shot her mate with. He walked past her, and she was about to take a breath. He stopped. He turned around and came back towards her, still peering into the bushes around her.
She knew hiding wasn’t an option any more. Run or Kill. Run or Kill. Run or Kill. The words pounded over and over in her brain. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t out run the gun. But she had never killed before. Run or Kill. Run or Kill.
The hunter stopped in front of her hiding place, but was looking in the bushes on the other side of the path. She crouched lower, preparing to leap.
As if feeling her presence, the hunter straightened to his full height. He began to turn.
Her powerful hind legs pushed her into the air. Run or Kill. Run or Kill.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pen names

As you can see, the pen name that I have attached to this blog, my Facebook page and Twitter account is Syl E. Knight - which is the name I want to use to publish my fantasy, sci fi and horror stories. But what about my non-genre literary work or my YA stories? I don't know that I want to publish those stories/books under the same pen name. (This, of course, assumes I do eventually get published.) I know many authors do use different names for different genres, or at least they used to do so.

In the old days of publishing, the author could choose a name, publish under that name and the agent, publicist or publisher would handle getting his/her name out there. But publishing today seems to be a different world. Authors appear to be responsible for getting name recognition via Twitter, Google+, Facebook, blogs, web pages, and whatever other methods there are that I haven't thought of.

So do other authors have separate Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for each pen name? That seems like it would be a lot of work maintaining that many accounts and that much information.

So I am unsure whether I should just tie the one set of web presence things (Twitter, blog, Facebook) to all of the names or set them up individually for each name or just say, the heck with it and just publish under one name.

I must admit that, being basically lazy, I am leaning towards the last choice.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Slacking off

After making a promise to post every week, I posted something on Aug 27th and nothing since. I've been slacking! Good excuse though - my daughter's wedding and then preparing for the big party over Labor Day weekend to celebrate. Thankfully she went for the private small wedding and no reception. The party was enough for me. I think I've been recovering all week! Anyway, I will get back into the groove within the next few days. I promise!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Edgar Rice Burroughs
“Am I alive and a reality, or am I but a dream?”
― Edgar Rice BurroughsThe Return of Tarzan

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Love Eternal

Mabel and Herbert sat across from each other at a small table in the Palace Diner. They were drinking coffee and taking turns glancing at the door, as if they were expecting someone to come in. They held hands, their fingers twined together intimately. Her hands were covered with liver spots, while his were gnarled and twisted with arthritis.

Mabel put her coffee down and said, "I know we'll find them tonight."

"My dearest love, you can't know."

"How can you say that, sweetheart? I always know."

"True, I'm just worried; I feel that time is running short."

"We have put if off longer than usual, but we have been extraordinarily happy this time, don't you think?"

"Yes, but I'm always extraordinarily happy with you," Herbert said, smiling at her.

"And I with you, my love," she answered, returning his smile.

They looked into each other's eyes, no further words needed. The little bell over the door tinkled as Sherry and Craig walked through the door.

Mabel and Herbert turned their heads as one and watched the younger couple pick out a table not too far from their own. Mabel and Herbert smiled at each other and settled down to eavesdrop.

"I'm sorry, babe," Craig said, reaching across the table to hold her hand loosely in his larger one. At her puzzled look he continued, "This isn't much of a romantic getaway, is it?" He turned his hand so that it was palm up and her hand just rested lightly on it.

Sherry shook her head and smiled at him, "Hon, it's no big deal. We'll have plenty of romantic getaways." She gave his hand a little reassuring squeeze, and then lifted her hand from his to spread her napkin across her lap.

"I know, but we've done nothing but argue since we crossed the line into New Hampshire."

"True," she answered. "But we're both strong willed and opinionated. We're bound to butt heads."

"Opinionated! I'm not opinionated."

"Really?" she said, one eyebrow raised in question. "You're the one who won't consider heading back to Manchester. You're determined to stay up here, come hell or high water."

"That's just being practical."

Sherry opened her mouth to reply just as the waitress arrived.

The woman was older, in her forties or fifties, with graying hair and no makeup except for some bright red lipstick. She wore a faded pink uniform with a white collar and cuffs on the short sleeves. Pinned to her chest was a name tag that revealed her name to be Ruby.

"What can I get for you folks?" she asked, pulling a pad of paper and a pencil out of her pocket.

"Uh, I don't know. Babe, do you want a burger?"

"Yeah, I guess. And a coke," Sherry answered.

"Okay. Two burgers, medium." He looked up from the menu and said, "Do you have onion rings?" Ruby nodded yes and he continued, "One with fries and one with onion rings. Oh, and I'll have a ginger ale."

Ruby closed her pad, "Thank you, folks. I'll bring your drinks right over." She walked back to the window into the kitchen and called out, "Barry! Two pink cows, a fry and a ring."

Sherry and Craig sat silently as they both watched Ruby. Neither was really paying attention to her, though. They were wrapped in their own thoughts.

"I saw a state park on 109," he said, still not looking at Sherry.

"I saw it," she said shortly. She knew what was coming.

"We should just camp there."

"It's probably closed and who knows if it's set up for camping."

Just then Ruby brought their drinks. "Here you go," she said as she put the glasses on the table and then turned away.

"Wait a minute, Ruby," Craig said. When she stopped and turned back to him again, he continued. "The State Park we drove by, is it set up for camping?"

"Wentworth State Park?" she asked. Craig nodded and she said, "No, it's just for day trippers - you know, picnics and swimming, stuff like that. They close at sundown and drop the gate across the access road.

"Really?" he asked. "So there's no way to get into the park after dark?"

"Not officially," she said with a smirk.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, there's a dirt road in that the locals know about. The kids use it as a kind of lover's lane," she answered.

"That's interesting," he said. "Is it off the main road?"

Sherry sat there and steamed as her husband and Ruby discussed ways to get into the park. She knew what was coming next. And sure enough, as Ruby walked away from their table, Craig turned his head to look at Sherry again. She recognized the look on his face, it was the same one he always had when he was going to try to charm her her into doing something she didn't want to do. She knew it usually worked, too.

"We can go up that lover's lane, park the truck, get some sleep and head home tomorrow."

Sherry shook her head, "You are something."

"What do you mean?" he asked with an innocent look on his face.

"You do realize that we'd be trespassing, don't you?"

"Yeah, but it's a state park. The locals go in there when it's closed."

"But not to sleep!" she exclaimed, softly, her face turning red with frustration as she glanced around to see if anyone had heard her.

The low voiced argument continued while they waited for their food. Their voices never raised above a conversational level, but their tones changed as the argument escalated.

Their food was delivered and they ate in complete silence.

Herbert turned to Mabel, "What do you think?"

"I think they're the ones."

"Are you sure? Did you listen to them argue? I don't know if they have that connection to each other."

"They do have it, I can feel it. And we'll take care of the arguing, won't we?"

"Well, yes, but do you think they love each other enough?

"Yes, they're in love enough. Not like we are, of course," she said, smiling at her love. "But they never are, are they?"

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New blog intentions

I haven't posted anything in a long time - much longer than I had realized! That doesn't mean I haven't been writing, because I have. I just kind of forgot about my blog. But not anymore, I am going to start posting something every week. I do have a new short story that I will post an excerpt from this week - not the whole thing, just an excerpt. Spoiler alert - it's a spooky, kind of, but not quite, ghost love story.