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Tuesday Trumpet! Music, Cat-astrophe & Thrilling News!

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NEWS-ABOUT-KURVES!

First off, I’ve added audio files to the KURVES, THE MUSICAL page (above) so folks can finally hear some of the songs.

NEWS-ABOUT-CAT!

Seren-kitty had her vet visit yesterday. She’s not a youngster any more and I’ve  been worried about her health since she’s drinking/urinating more. I’ll have a full recap on Friday but wanted to thank everyone for the good wishes. It is NOT diabetes (whew!). It may be early kidney issues (her tests are ‘borderline’ and not yet in failure). We’re expecting Texas A & M results tomorrow or Thursday to let us know about thyroid function. Paws crossed that’s negative…

NEWS-ABOUT-FICTION!

Some of y’all know that I’ve long aspired to write thrillers. Last Thursday, just before I headed out for the KWA Scene Conference, I heard from my editor at Who Dares Wins Publishing that they will publish my thriller LOST AND FOUND probably this fall (date tba). SNOOPY-DANCE-O-JOY!

Animal behaviorist September Day has 24 hours to find her autistic nephew and his service dog before he–and hundreds of other children–become victims of a deadly experimental autism treatment. And yes, there is “dog voice” as well as a highly-trained kitty, along with assorted quirky two-legged characters in the book.

To say I’m thrilled is an understatement. But today I also learned that I’ve been accepted as an ITW Debut Author class of 2012/2013. When I got that email I bawled. With happiness, of course. But that really upset the Magical-Dawg. Any tears upset him. And yes, the hero dog in the fiction came about by channeling my inner dog/cat. *s*

Anyway, I had to let y’all know my news. It’s been an “on top of the world” to “worry-icity” to “floating-again” sort of week. Sometimes you reach for, grab, and actually catch the brass ring.

*humming* If I can do it, you can do it too…

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Carla Buckley, Pacing Ebb & Flow

I’ve spent the last several days head-down-slash-and-burn editing the thriller WIP, and the past several weeks’ worth of Tuesday Tips have been a great help for me. Hey, it’s my blog so I can post what I like! For all you fiction-lovers out there and those who aspire to do this brain-numbing-writer-crappiocca, I hope it’s been helpful to you, too.

Here’s the last installment of tips from Thrillerfest 2011. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter, a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett. I shared an interview of John Sanford and pacing and Jeffery Deaver and Andrew Petersen weighed in on pacing. The awesome Joseph Finder offered three words that make all the difference in pacing and last week Jamie Frevelletti spoke about high-octane pacing. Today I’ve got the next installment of that panel. You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This next video features another take on the question of pacing, this time answered by best-selling author Carla Buckley, author of The Things That Keep Us Here.  This is a deceptively quiet book, with an ebb-and-flow to the pacing that tightens the tension like a silent scream.

That’s right, it doesn’t all have to be car chases and machine guns to create pacing. We’ve talked thrillers on the blog–cuz it’s my blog and I happen to love the genre–but ALL fiction needs tension and good pacing. There’s no cookie-cutter recipe that works for every book and author. How do you manage your WIP? Readers, what do you like in your book-o-the-moment choice? Is it character angst, plotting twists, a combination or none of the above? Please share!

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here. And even better, you can come to Thrillerfest 2012 and see the big show in person! Registration info is now available.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Racing Pacing with Jamie Frevelletti

Here’s yet another installment of tips from Thrillerfest. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter, a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett. I shared an interview of John Sanford and pacing and two weeks ago Jeffery Deaver and Andrew Petersen weighed in on pacing. Last week the awesome Joseph Finder offered three words that make all the difference in pacing. Today I’ve got the next installment of that panel. You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This next video features another take on the question of pacing, this time answered by best-selling author Jamie Frevelletti.

Her book Running From the Devil starts with a plane crash and never stops.

How do you pace your novel? Conventional wisdom says “cut to the chase” but that really means cut out the backstory. Don’t bore your reader with background, but begin with something interesting–usually that’s the “normal world” before everything goes haywire for the hero. But how soon do you drop the hero/heroine off a cliff? Do you start in the middle of the firestorm? When planning the story, do you consciously include spots to breathe?

For the past several weeks I’ve been the substitute accompanist for my church when the organist broke her shoulder. As a singer, I always include phrasing for a singer’s breaths–because as a singer I get nuts AND PASS OUT! when the phrase never ends. The same thing should happen in fiction. But that ebb and flow can come fast or slow, become a torrent racing for a cliff or a meandering stream that picks up steam over the rapids.

Do you think readers feel that same urge for an eye-in-the-storm quiet moment? How long/how often should it happen? Or can you ramp up the tension without pause? Do tell!

Meanwhile, here’s what best-selling authors say. This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Writer-icity, Canine Awards & Glowing Cats

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Today we’re celebrating a debut book, some amazing canines, glowing cats and fantastic writer conference/contest ops among other things.

It rained–and hailed–here last night. The rain is welcome after all the fires we’ve had and continuing drought conditions. But it drove at least two crickets inside–and they proceeded to drive me crazy! I sent Seren-kitty after them so eventually little cricket drumsticks will be all that’s left of ’em, but meanwhile the ventriloquist act drives me buggy. At least crickets aren’t dangerous to dogs and cats like bug bites and stings. Here in Texas we even get to deal with tarantulas an scorpions–hey, that’s sort of like dealing with publishers. *eg* Exactly the same, only different.

Please don’t be shy about sending me your own links or suggestions for others to highlight. I love doing a SNOOPY-DANCE-’O-JOY! in celebration of all the savvy writers and animal advocates doing the work of the angels–and to a few angels as well.

CAT CALLS New Book by Cat Experts Extraordinaire! Calling All Cat-Lovers! New York cat expert and cat sitter Jeanne Adlon, with purr-fessional writer Susan Logan, bring readers a tasty smorgasbord of fun kitty anecdotes seasoned with sound advice, and lots of furry inspiration. Cat Calls is Paws-itively delightful! For those who may not be aware, Jeanne is a contributor to CatChannel.com while Susan is editor of Cat Fancy magazine–as a friend of mine likes to say, “It don’t get no better none!”

Hey, I’m a writer, cain’t ya tell?

CAT & DOG SCHTUFF

GREEN GLOWING CATS and nope, it’s reality and not out of some thriller novel. But come to think of it, that might make a neat plot twist.

5 CANINES WIN AKC “ACE” AWARDS The recipient in each category (Exemplary Companion, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Service, and Therapy) will receive an engraved silver collar medallion and a check for $1,000 at a presentation ceremony at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Florida, on December 17, 2011. Each Honorable Mention recipient will be mailed a bronze collar medallion.

White House Pets Pictures came to me in an email out of the blue–some neat new photos I hadn’t seen before.

BLOGS TO CHECK OUT

Writer Beware Blog has a terrific mix of publishing news on lawsuits and new trends, and writer tips written by Victoria Strauss and A.C. Crispin.

HOW TO BUILD A WRITING TEAM from Jenny Hansen’s excellent blog. Seriously, y’all need to bookmark this one!

Piper Bayard’s “On Life, Belly Dancing and Apocalyptic Annihilation has some of the coolest writer insights–and just plain LOL moments. You’ve gotta check out the Ben & Jerry’s latest ice cream flavor Schweddy Balls.

WRITER-ICITY

LIVESCRIBE, Never Miss A Word: My colleague Dusty Rainbolt some time ago mentioned a “magic pen” recommended some years ago by a speaker at the Cat Writers Association Conference. She raves about the LiveScribe, able to record a seminar, conversation or phone call. It apparently has some sort of smart memory so that you can “write” down a note about a topic on the special paper, later tap the text on your note and the recording plays back from there. As with many digital devices you can save the recording to the computer. I don’t have one but plan to look into this nifty writer’s tool. For thriller writers, it sounds like something the well-outfitted spy character might carry!

WORSE THAN CONTENT MILLS?   For those of us struggling to provide top-notch original content, this is scary. Computers generating word-spin and you don’t even have to buy lunch. Say it ain’t so! What do you think?

Ebook FOREIGN RIGHTS OPS article from thriller writer Karen Dionne.

AWESOME WRITER CONFERENCES & CONTESTS

Cat Writers Association 18th Annual Conference takes place this November 17-19 in White Plains, New York with many sessions specific to publishing and writing about pets–or really any subject. Oh, and I’ll be there with Susan Logan of Cat Fancy offering some “caterwauls” as entertainment. *s*

International Thriller Writers “Thrillerfest” and “Craftfest” Conference “early bird” registration is now open! But to get the best rate you’ll need to register by September 30. Of course you can still register later for the July 12, 2012 conference.

Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. hosts a massive contest for unpublished work each year, often judged by professionals who happen to be editors, agents and published authors. It’s cheap-cheap-cheap for invaluable feedback, only $20 for entering all of the 29 unpublished and 4 published book categories. The whole point of the contest is to help writers improve the work on the journey to publication. Check it out!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Reverse, Reveal, Surprise

Choco power

Writing fiction is a tug-o-war with your inner child--who will win? (Image copr. Vida Jocif)

Some of y’all who “like” me on Facebook know I’m deep into edits on a thriller WIP. Yes, I’m channeling my inner child to try my paw at some fiction writer-icity. Only time will tell whether readers will lap it up or howl and bare their teeth but it’s great fun for me all the same. Sort of like brain-candy as a break from some of the more serious nonfiction topics of daily work such as expressing puppy anal glands (EW!) or de-skunking your pet (double EW!). Actually some of that could make its way into my fiction since one of the viewpoint characters is a service dog. Hey man, it’s what I do!

DANGER! KNOWING TOO MUCH?

New writers are often told to write what you know. But there’s danger in that, too. When the author knows so much about a particular topic, info-dump-itis becomes a huge risk. (Guilty.) So in a way, writing about what you DON’T know might make more sense, and indulging in research only to the point needed to move the story forward. I really could care less how bullets are made, or why this gun sounds differently than that one. When I read a thriller I just want the gun to shoot when it’s supposed to.

BAD RESEARCH KILLS STORIES

But I also know readers who become distracted and jarred out of the story if the cop-hero carries the wrong firearm. I wouldn’t know or care. But I’m offended by authors who get dog/cat facts wrong in their novels–I’ve stopped reading at least one BSA for that reason when the hero/vet-tech gave her SAR dog Tylenol for muscle aches.

CHOOSING THE “WRITE” WORDS

How much is too much? What’s not enough? Just show the tip of the iceberg instead of dropping the whole lump-‘0-ice into the brew that takes the steam out of the story.

At least that’s what I believe Mr. Finder says in the latest video, below. I plan to take a page from his pacing playbook, too, and tape these three words above my computer: reverse, reveal, surprise.

JOSEPH FINDER SPEAKS

The past several Tuesday Tips have featured a series of video tips from Thrillerfest and best-selling authors. These include tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song,interview with master author R.L. Stine, Ken Follett, and  John Sanford.  Last week’s video featured pacing tips from Andrew Peterson and Jeffery Deaver.

Today I’ve got the next installment of that panel.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.  Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! Today the video offers tips on pacing and character from best-selling author Joseph Finder.

How do you manage characterization in your novel without resorting to the dreaded info-dump-icity? Do you season in details like salt and pepper–or do you throw everything in the pot to boil and worry about diluting the broth later? Is it important for the author to know all of that backstory to write valid, compelling characters? What’s YOUR biggest hurdle in the fictioning process? (Hey, I’m a writer–I can make up words if I want to!). Please share!

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Deaver & Peterson on Pacing

Here’s yet another installment of tips from Thrillerfest. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett.  Last week I shared an interview of John Sanford and pacing and today I’ve got the next installment of that panel.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here. 

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This next video features a question about pacing, this time answered by best-selling authors Andrew Peterson and Jeffery Deaver.  What’s neat for me is I happen to know that both gentlemen LOVE DOGS! Andrew shares his life with two Giant Schnauzers and a Miniature Schnauzer, while Jeffery actually has show his Briard dogs at Westminster.

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

So how do you create good pacing in your novels? What does Andrew concentrate on in his books for tension? what drives his plot and pacing? Find out the surprising twist that Jeffery says he’s used in his thrilling books.

What favorite writing tip have you learned during your writerly journey? please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: John Sandford’s Pacing

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Here’s yet another installment of tips from Thrillerfest. I’ve shared video tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and Ken Follett.  Today I’ve got more goodies in store from that event.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with James Rollins interviewing a whole panel of best-selling-authors! This first video features a question about pacing, answered by John Sanford. In fact, I just finished reading one of Mr. Sanford’s thrillers BAD BLOOD — he’s got to be one of my all time favorite authors! and I got the book autographed (Fan-Girl Moment!).

This video is only a small taste, of course. You can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

So how do you create good pacing in your novels? Guess whether Mr. Sanford is a “pantser” or a “plotter?” He shares a great tip for increasing tension and starting your book off with a bang. How do you start your novels?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Ken Follett Writer-icity Tips

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Those who frequent this blog already know about my fan-girl moments related to the most recent Thrillerfest.  I’ve shared tips from Karin Slaughter,  a video of Michael & Daniel Palmer’s Thrillerfest Song, as well as a video of the Thrillerfest interview with master author R.L. Stine, and today I’ve got more goodies in store from that event.  You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Where else but Thrillerfest could you get so much bang-for-your-buck with Douglas Preston interviewing Ken Follett–wowzer! Find out how Mr. Follett transitioned from nonfiction to thrilling fiction and created EYE OF THE NEEDLE.  This video is only a small taste, of course, and you can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

So how do you create good pacing in your novels? Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?” And how’s that working for you? Please share!

 

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Musically Thrilling Writer-icity

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Amy & Michael Palmer

Amy and bestselling thriller author Michael Palmer at Thrillerfest!

Okay, I gotta share another fan-girl moment–yes, that’s THE Michael Palmer at the reception just before the Thrillerfest Banquet. And I got to meet his son, debut author Daniel Palmer earlier in the day at the book signing event. Yep, got both of their books autographed. And because I had the books shipped (my bad back couldn’t take schlepping ’em on the plane), I just got the books this week and have just started Daniel’s debut thriller, Delirious. And for all you dog-lovers, a main character in Daniel’s book adopts an adult rescue Beagle named Monte…you’ll love this dog! Oh, and then Michael’s  book is just A Heartbeat Away on my list to read next.

Why is this on today’s Tuesday Tips? Well–the video might explain. You see, both these talented writers also are musicians and offered some great fun tips during their presentation at the Thrillerfest banquet. The quality of the video sucks, I know, cuz the light wasn’t great and frankly, I was laughing too hard to hold the camera steady.

This video is only a small taste of the whole Thrillerfest experience, of course, and you can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

What are YOUR favorite author tips? Do any of these sound familiar?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Tuesday Tips: Scary-Funny Interview with R.L. Stine

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For the past nine Tuesdays this space focussed on DIY Kindle-ization. I’ll return to the topic from time to time and point y’all at shiny objects that catch my eye. For example, David Gaughran covers Ebooks in his daily blog including some pretty nifty how-to advice that’s particularly helpful to international authors. He’s also Epub’d a how-to book.

I just received an inquiry from an Italian publisher about foreign language rights for the Aging Cat book, yee-haw! That never would have happened without bringing the backlist er, uhm, back. *s*

My next Kindle-ization project won’t happen until a massive revision/update of the award winning Purina Encyclopedia of Cat Care–which also will require a title change since I’m no longer affiliated with the company and that license expired. So what should I call the book? Love to have suggestions for a new title! It’s still an A-to-Z encyclopedia but expands the care/health sections with first aid, aging specific issues, behavior, and WOW-cutting edge. Hey, I have to put some THRILLING stuff in there! But I’ll remove the short breed descriptions and pictures because others do that way better than I can. Let me know and I’ll refer you to colleague’s books that do a fantastic job with kitty breeds.

I’m hard at work editing my current fiction WIP–oh yes, I make up crappiocca, too! The story includes SURPRISE! dogs and cats and vets, oh my! No flying monkeys. Yet. A few dead bodies. Those who frequent this blog know I’m a fan of thrillers and recently attended Thrillerfest. You can check out a boatload of Thrillerfest pictures here.

Even though my kids have four feet and fur, I’m familiar with R.L. Stine’s successful GOOSEBUMPS series. These days, YA fiction is hotter than Texas in July. (We had rain this morning that sizzled when it hit the ground.) So when the schedule said the amazing James Rollins (fan-girl moment!) would interview Mr. Stine, I had to be there.

Who knew R.L. Stine could have a second career in stand-up! Or that he was not an overnight success. His publishing path gives established and yet-to-be-published writers hope, and offers some great insight. This video is only a small taste, of course, and you can get the full deal recording (and those of the other panels) of CDs, MP3s and DVDs of Thrillerfest here.

How did you start out as a writer? For the successful established authors, how long did it take? What words of wisdom can you add to help with the teeth-gnashing angst of pursuing a writerly dream? As for my small success as a pet writer, I started out scraping crap off the bottom of kennels, and these days I just write about it. Exactly the same, only different.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!