Friday, March 25, 2016

Keeping me company

Things are winding down at my mother's house, who passed away eight months ago. (Why does it seem like just last week?)  As her executor, it's up to me to settle the estate.

My Mum was a bit of a pack rat, so there were a LOT of papers, boxes, and closets (you can't believe how many closets that house has) full of stuff to go through. But as I mentioned, it's starting to wind down. I have a few more boxes to pack, one more yard sale to run (in April), and the inside of the house is pretty much done.

It has taken many, MANY hours to get this job done. Since my brother works two jobs, it's been pretty much me.  But I've been kept company by audiobooks.

I love to be read to. Mr. L often starts the day reading the news to me while I get breakfast going and feed cats.  I make green juice for myself, enough for two days, and it's time consuming. At least 20 minutes spent slicing and chopping before the veggies go into the Nutribullet. Often he'll pick a more entertaining story, rather than yet another article on misery somewhere else in the world.  It's nice.

But at my Mother's house (and in my car), I like to hear a more involved story. I'm currently listening to my own book, With Baited Breath, the first full-length novel in my Lotus Bay mystery series.  Why listen to my own stuff? Because I'm trying to figure out the plot to the next book and don't have time to actually READ the book. And Heather Masters did a wonderful job narrating the book.

Sorting and cleaning don't seem so boring when you're listening to a good story.  (Okay, I happen to like my own stories ... that's why I write them.)  I like to listen to audiobooks when I fold laundry, too. Is there any more boring task than folding laundry and pairing socks? (I have enough socks that I only have to wash them every 5-6 weeks...that means it takes a l-o-n-g time to pair them.)

If you like audiobooks, maybe you'd like to listen to mine.  You can check out my website pages under my various names: Lorraine Bartlett, L.L. Bartlett, and Lorna Barrett.

Do you have a favorite audio narrator?  (I may be prejudiced, but I really enjoy listening to just about anything my own narrator, Steven Barnett reads. Just ordered a BIG fantasy novel he read. I'll probably start that tomorrow.)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

When Characters Start Demading They Be Heard

One of the great things about being a hybrid author (with one foot in the traditional world of publishing, and the other firmly planted in the world of indie publishing), is that you can write whatever you want. I'm under contract for the Booktown and Victoria Square Mysteries, but I also have three other series under my (various) names:  the very successful Jeff Resnick Mysteries, the (still wet behind the ears) Lotus Bay Mysteries, and the totally unsuccessful Tales of Telenia adventure/fantasy series.

Why is Telenia unsuccessful? It's not my usual genre. How many of my mystery readers want to read a book about a woman stranded on a strange, misogynist planet, where every day she seems to smack into yet another brick wall? A place with strange and deadly creatures. A place where the food is bad, the people unfriendly, and everything is alien to her.

Last week, my friends Kelly McClymer and Shirley Hailstock and I were talking about the books and why they can't seem to find an audience.  Kelly read my blurb and then asked me how I viewed the series. I pretty much told her what's written in the paragraph above. She said, "But that's not what your blurb conveys."
Here's my blurb for the first book (which is not the first blurb; I've worked it this several times). It tells the story, but doesn't convey Amanda's adventures (like capturing a giant spider, or being taken captive--and her struggles with Prince Paxdon):

Amanda Shelton is clever, adventurous, and tough--and she'll have to be, because she's crash landed on a world where her saviors might well be her enemies. It takes fierce determination to keep the people of this frightening and unfamiliar place from stealing her shuttle technology, or imprisoning her while they do it. Yet what she knows could save countless innocent lives--including those who keep this world safe. Facing this test of spirit will take everything Amanda has...if she survives at all.

Blurb writing is a skill--one I obviously don't possess. I'm contemplating hiring the Blurb Bitch to attack my description to see what she can do with it.

But when it all comes down to it, I'm a writer of characters, and it's my characters that attract my readers. Poor Amanda is alone in this book ... and then she makes a friend. And then another. (Think "Thelma and Louise.")

So what's the point of this blog post?

I've been stalling writing the next adventure because the first two have not sold well. It's been three years since I wrote the second book in the series, Journey.  Even though Threshold and Journey have not sold well, I can't abandon Amanda, Brannan, Dohmas, Wren, and Paxdon any longer. They are DEMANDING that I tell their story. It's all plotted. I've even got the dialog for a number of scenes memorized. (I've been thinking a LOT about this story.)  I have other commitments to write books that actually do sell, but I've decided to take an hour a day and work on Treachery. It's my gift to me.

But I do wish more of my readers would befriend Amanda. She's all alone in a place called Telenia. She could use a few friends. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's surreal on National Cereal Day!

Aw, rats. It's National Cereal Day and I had (revolting) green juice for breakfast. What did you have? (My favorite cereal is wither Cheerios or plain corn flakes.)

3-7 Natl Cereal Day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Have you preordered A FATAL CHAPTER?

The paperback edition of A FATAL CHAPTER will be available in just 64 days.  Why not preorder today?

Paperback Availablefor pre-order

While out walking Sarge, her sister’s Bichon frise, Tricia is led by the agitated dog to a man lying in a gazebo. She’s startled when she recognizes Pete Renquist, the president of the Stoneham Historical Society, who appears to be suffering from cardiac arrest. When Pete later dies in the hospital, the discovery of a suspicious bruise and a puncture mark on his arm suggests he may have been murdered. 

Haunted by Pete’s enigmatic last words to her, Tricia begins to consider who had a motive to kill her friend. Did Pete take his flirting too far, only to have a jealous husband teach him a lesson? Or did he discover something in the town’s historical records that his killer wanted kept secret? Tricia is determined to get to the bottom of things before someone else becomes history…

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