Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Linda Howard's Upcoming Colorado Workshop



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Permission to Forward


The 12 Steps of Intimacy and Weaving Romance and Suspense into a Seamless Tale with Linda Howard


Pikes Peak Romance Writers is pleased to announce that New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard will teach a workshop on The 12 Steps of Intimacy and Weaving Romance and Suspense into a Seamless Tale on Saturday, June 5, 2010.

The workshop will be held from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Central United Methodist Church at 4373 Galley Road in Colorado Springs.

Through this workshop, participants will learn how to create page-turning sexual tension in their novels from a master at the craft. Howard will discuss her popular “Twelve Steps of Intimacy” and how these steps can be used to effectively create both emotional and physical tension between characters. She’ll also cover how to use conflict to spice up the sensuality in your work and balancing romance and suspense in fiction.

Linda Howard is an award-winning author whose New York Times bestsellers include Open Season, All the Queen’s Men, Mr. Perfect, Kill and Tell, and Son of the Morning. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.

The cost of the workshop is $35 for Romance Writer of America members and $45 for nonmembers if registered before June 1, 2010. Registration at the door is $50 for everyone. You must be at least 18 years old to attend.


For registration instructions, please go to www.pprw.org.

Photo © Brian Velenchenko

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom From Creative Screenwriting

"Measure your mind's height by the shadow it casts."
       ~Rex Stout

"It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."
       ~William Faulkner
 


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Golden Heart Congrats!

Whose name is on this list? That's right. It's DONNELL!

Congratulations, chica! You definitely deserve it, and we'll be rooting for you in Nashville.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hank Phillippi Ryan & DRIVE TIME

Deadlines...Desire...Deception

Investigative reporter Charlotte McNally is an expert at keeping things confidential, but suddenly everyone has a secret--and it turns out it is possible to know to much....

Compelling? I think so. This is the start to Hank Phillippi Ryan's back cover blurb DRIVE TIME. Fortunately, I'm not bound by journalistic integrity so I can easily spread the word. I loved DRIVE TIME and couldn't put it down. Please welcome the winner of 26 Emmys for investigative reporting and Agatha winner, HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN to the Five Scribes.

D.B: Hank, I'm so excited to talk to you today. Confession time. DRIVE TIME is the only work of yours I've read, an oversight I plan to remedy immediately. It's obvious with titles like PRIME TIME, FACE TIME and AIR TIME, these books are a series. But after reading DRIVE TIME, I think they can stand alone. Do you agree?

HPR: Oh, thanks! I'm delighted to be here. And yes, you are so right. Although PRIME TIME was written first, they are definitely stand alones. Just as you can read Sue Grafton's L,and then B, and it won't matter, you can read DRIVE TIME first and then pick up FACE TIME or AIR TIME or PRIME TIME. (Suzanne Brockmann read DRIVE TIME first, and was so enthusiastic, she went back and read the others.)

There's no insider stuff, or repetitive backstory, or spoilers about the previous books. I will say if you don't read PRIME TIME first, here's one thing you'll know that Charlotte McNally doesn't know. But I've gotten lots of mail from readers who had a wonderful time with that.

It's like where you meet a new friend--you find out the most current thing about them, right? And then later, as you get to know them, you learn their history. So that happens with the Charlie books.
So--which one are you reading next?

And ...this just in: AIR TIME was just nominated for the prestigious AGATHA Award for best Mystery of 2009!

D.B.: Omgosh! Breaking news! Congratulations, Hank! Well, it doesn't take a mystery sleuth to know AIR TIME's next on my TBR list.

You write in first person, present tense. I found the style captivating. Are all the Charlie McNally books written in this fashion, and do you find this the ideal complement to your voice?

HPR: What a lovely question. Yes, all the TIME books are first person present. And I have to say --that's not a decision I consciously made. It's kind of funny--when I had the idea for PRIME TIME, I thought it was such a good idea for a plot that I was obsessed with writing it. But I couldn't begin until I had my first sentence.

One night at dinner--over blackened tuna sashimi--it came to me. I dug for a pen and wrote it on a paper napkin: "Between the hot flashes, the hangover and all the spam on my computer, I'll never get anything done before eight o'clock this morning. I came in early to get ahead and already I'm behind." That's how it came out--first person present. And that set the tone. And that sentence never changed through all the revisions.

But first person present is very--television, don't you think? It's fast-paced, and intensely personal, and makes the books all about perception. Because there's what Charlie thinks--and also what the reader thinks about that. I mean, the reader knows Charlie could be wrong! And first person also allows me as the author to "help" with Charlie's perception--while all along I know what's really happening.

D.B.:
You're right. I felt I knew Charlie very well while reading in this tense. But it's not just about tense and first person, you have a gift of creating characters. Your investigative reporter character Charlie McNally is newly engaged to a hunky Mr. Chips-type English lit professor. She's about to become a step-mom to Penny, a precocious nine year old, who calls her father, Daddo, Charlie, Charlie Mac, and who has fallen head over heels with Charlie's cat, Botox.

Career-wise Charlie works alongside two unforgettable characters, her producer Franklin who alone calls her Charlotte, but thanks to a fading Mississippi accent pronounces it (Shaw-lit), and a camera man named J.T. (who if I ever see those initials on anyone else, I will find it impossible not to think of Hank Phillippi Ryan.) With such an unforgettable cast, Hank, who or what inspired them?

HPR: Well, Charlie appeared in my head, named and fully formed. (We can talk about "is Charlie really you?" a bit later!) But bottom line, no one else is based on anyone specifically. What inspired them, you ask? Such an interesting question. Because, really it's unanswerable. I love them, and I know them. But they just--appeared when the book was ready for them.

D.B.:
Now wouldn't every author love such a cooperative muse ;) In your everyday work you're an investigative reporter, so it's no surprise that you write flawlessly and seamlessly...

HPR: (Blushing.)

D.B.:
...but fiction novels and hard news stories are not twin professions. In investigative reporting, you have to switch gears, multi-task and function as a team. In fiction writing, you need high levels of concentration and alone time. Will you talk about your processes, and here's a hard question: If you had to give up one, which would it be?

HPR: You know what's so interesting--to me at least--in the newsroom, at Channel 7, it's chaos. There are dozens of televisions blaring, on all different channels and people running around, and phones ringing, and general craziness. Deadlines, headlines, breaking news, changes, arguments, lights, camera, action, all that. And I can work perfection--typing and researching and writing scripts, as you say, madly multi-tasking, with all that going on. No problem.

But when I'm writing my books, at home in my study, it has to be completely quiet. No music, no background noise no one else in the room. And the surroundings just melt away, time disappears.

Sometimes my darling husband (a lawyer) comes in to ask me a question--like when's dinner?--and it's as if I'm being yanked out of another world. It's amazing. And wonderful.

For the past 25 years or so, my next news story has been in my brain every minute of the day. It's what I discussed, what I considered, what I worked on, all I cared about. Now, I realize when I walk down the street, my brain is in mystery world. I'm thinking of what happens to Charlie next, or--this just in--to a new character who's just new emerging.

Still, when I walk into the newsroom that--poof--goes away. (Until something happens that would be just PERFECT for Charlie...then I can't help it.)

If I had to give one up? Ah. Ten years ago that would have been easy to answer. Now, I'm not sure. Can I get back to you on that one?

D.B.:
Sure. But I suspect from your answer you're passionate about both. DRIVE TIME has masterful pacing, transitioning effortlessly from Charlie's personal world to her professional life. You incorporate the mystery/characterization and plot elements with hooks and narrative that make it look easy.

Lines like: Who'd have imagined a continental divide in the middle of a king-size mattress?.... He's right. And I'm right. Is there a right?....Forty something women in television are as rare as shoulder pads and leg warmers. I know my own style is destined to go out of style.

HPR: Oh, thank you! Because part of what makes Charlie real is that she's dealing with changes in her life, right? Dilemmas we all face. Loyalties, ethics, priorities, perceptions. How did we wind up where we are? And what will happen to us next?

D.B.:
I found Charlie very three-dimensional. I also appreciated the confidence she exudes as an Emmy-award winning reporter as well as her ticking clock desperation. When she has the opportunity of a lifetime, I found myself aching for her tough decision. I loved her ethics, her commitment and passion for journalism and I loved her smarts. In one scene she has to disable a Mustang rather than let the bad guy get away. So, how is Charlie McNally like Hank Phillippi Ryan, and how is she different?

HPR: When my husband talks about Charlie, he calls her "you." As in--when "you" are held at gunpoint, when you track down the bad guys, when you solve the mystery...and I have to remind him, "Sweetheart, it's fiction. It didn't really happen."

But a couple of things: I've been a TV reporter for more than 30 years. (Yes, really.)
And so it would be silly, in writing a mystery about TV, not to use my own experiences. Think about it--as a TV reporter, you can never be wrong! Never be one minute late. Never choose the wrong word or miscalculate. You can never have a bad hair day, because it'll be seen by millions of people! It's high-stakes and high-stress--literally people's lives at stake--and I really wanted to convey that in the books.

And everything that TV people do and say in the books is authentic and genuine. (Of course, Charlie can say things I can't say, and reveal things I can't reveal.) We're both devoted journalists, and over-focused on our jobs.

But Charlotte McNally is different, too. She's single--I'm happily married. She's ten years younger than I am, and so is facing different choices and dilemmas. She's braver than I am, certainly. Funnier. And a much better driver. But I hope she feels real.

And I love that you mentioned the Mustang scene--that's one of my favorites! I still laugh when I think about it.

D.B.:
Me, too! It was a clever move for Charlie. Have you always had an interest in writing fiction? Is mystery your main passion, or are you interested in other fiction genres?

HPR: You know, I have a funny juxtaposition of desire to be in the spotlight--and
sheer terror or being in the spotlight. I love my job in TV--and have to go live and unrehearsed all the time. I want to be perfect, and when you're on live, you can't possibly be. That's one reason why I love investigative reporting--there's more time to work, and dig, and polish, and produce. It's like making a little movie, and I can make it as perfect as possible.

My mother says she always knew I would be a television reporter--but I think that was just her way of rationalizing that all I did as a pre-teen and teenager was read books and watch TV.

I knew from my first Nancy Drew that I loved mysteries. Nancy was my first best friend--I was a geeky unpopular kid, and it was such a relief to go home and hang out with Nancy. She was smart and made it be okay to be smart. She was confident and inquisitive and resourceful. I loved that.

But my career took a different turn, and I got into journalism.

But writing non-fiction, as an investigative reporter, and writing fiction, as in mysteries--I've learned that they are really very similar. You're looking to tell a great story, right? With compelling characters, and an important conflict, you're tracking down clues and following leads, doing research and interviews--and hoping, in the end, that the good guys win and the bad guys get what's coming to them. You're looking for justice, and you're trying to change the world.

So whether it's a work of mystery fiction, or the toughest non-fiction news story, there's the same goal. To tell a heck of a story, and to get people to care.

Of course, in television, you can't make stuff up!

D.B.:
Well, you could, but you wouldn't win an Emmy for it. ;) Hank, can you talk to us about your schedule? Do you submit your fiction work on proposal; how long does it take to finish the book? And how many months do you have to work between sequels?

HPR: First, I'm still on the air at Channel 7. So I work all day, then come home and write at night and on the weekends.

In PRIME TIME, I totally winged it. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was going, so I just blithely typed away. It took maybe--10 months? I typed The End, and then took it to be printed. It was 723 pages long! I had to cut half of it. Yikes.

It was a real editing education but also taught me I needed to be a bit more organized. And a lot tougher as a self-editor. (Now, I outline. Like crazy. My outlines are 60 pages long. I loathe writing them, but I adore it when I'm finished.)

I must say, though, that in writing PRIME TIME with no plan, I surprised even myself. I got about half-way through the book, and realized I'd chosen the wrong bad guy! I literally (as I remember it) sat up in bed, and thought--wait! The person who I thought did it--didn't!--and it just dawned on me who the real culprit was. It was all I could do not to run downstairs to the computer and see if I was right. The next morning, as I read over my 40,000 words--I barely had to make a change.

The real killer had been lurking in my very own pages--I just hadn't realized it! Talk about a surprise ending.

Anyway--FACE TIME took about 7 months, and AIR TIME and DRIVE TIME about
six.

I only work on one book at a time. Well, no, not really. The next book is always forming in my head and just pushing to come out. Sometimes I have to hold it back!

D.B.:
How funny! A muse that alternately pushes and keeps secrets from you. ;) Your character works at Channel 3 in Boston. Hank Phillippi Ryan is employed by Channel 7. When you created Charlie McNally, did you tell the network execs what you were planning to do? Did your wanting to write this type of character ever cause a conflict? What do your Channel 7 co-workers think of your books?

HPR: Ha! What a wonderful question! Well, I admit I was a little leery of writing a book that I feared people would think was autobiographical--it isn't--and a book where people might think they recognize someone. (And really, there's no one who is based on an actual character. Except, perhaps, in a strange way, my mother. But don't tell her that.) But in the most practical of ways, I wanted to make sure my TV contract did not interfere with my new career idea of writing mystery fiction. So I oh-so-casually told my immediate boss, my executive producer, that I was writing a mystery. "Oh," she said, "that sounds wonderful." Then she paused. Then she said, "Does the executive producer get killed?" I assured her, no. So then I went the next step up, to the Assistant News Director. "Writing a mystery," I casually dropped into the conversation. "Oh, terrific," he said. Then HE paused. Then he asked, "Does the assistant news director get killed?"

So bottom line all the way up the chain, all anyone cared about was whether the character who had their role was the murder victim.

D.B.: LOL. I found it fascinating how you weaved DRIVE TIME's car theft ring into a subplot that affected Charlie's inner circle. I'm curious if the plot originated from something you'd already investigated or was it a "What if" scenario you ran with?

HPR: The plot of DRIVE TIME--pretty amazing, huh, how timely it is right now? As a reporter, I have done many stories about automobile recalls, and I know the system and the pitfalls and the danger for drivers. So as a mystery author, exactly as you suggest, I asked myself, "what if" there was something else going on?

The germ of the story is from reality--and then I tried to tweak and twist and change and polish to come up with something original. Because of my research into safety recalls and the auto industry as a reporter, I could come up with a nefarious scheme that could actually work--and that' s what I love. I 'm hoping readers never think about their cars the same way--or about parking in a garage.

There's a huge been-there-done-that element to the books--I've wired myself with
hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians, chased down criminals...been in disguise, been stalked, and threatened and had many a door slammed in my face. I've had people confess to murder, and others from prison, insist they were innocent. So when something happens to Charlie, it's fair to imagine me.

D.B.:
You've already added an Agatha to your resume for PRIME TIME and now another Agatha nomination for AIR TIME. I imagine that agents and editors were excited about having a chance to represent/publish you. Have there been any rough spots in your writing career? Was there ever a time you called the project, "the book from hell?"

HPR: Oh, are you kidding? I've had my share of rejection letters, certainly. And there was one day in 2006 or so that my agent said PRIME TIME "was probably a dead project." My stomach still lurches when I remember that. I think the Charlotte McNally mysteries also cross over into [the] romantic suspense world, happily. But that's also created some dilemmas for us. They're shelved in Barnes & Nobel in the romance section. Huh. That baffles me, and worries me that mystery fans won't find it. What else? I had one potential cover for FACE TIME (someday, over a cup of tea, I'll tell you about it) that had me in tears for several days. But thanks to the wonderful people at my publisher, it all ended nicely. I try to look at disappointments as the opportunity for another opened door. Yes, I understand it sounds sappy. But you never know what's good or bad. The thing that seems like the most terrible--often turns into the best thing that ever happened. So I work to remember that.

D.B.:
You have two amazing quotes on the cover of DRIVE TIME. One from New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers. She writes ~ Smart, witty and no one's fool. Charlie is a heroine for today. ~

The second quote caught my eye, particularly because the world recently lost this writing legend. New York Times best selling author, Robert B. Parker said of your work ~ "Hank Phillippi Ryan knows the television business entirely; she understands plotting, and she writes beautifully. No wonder I loved DRIVE TIME. Anyone would."

I suppose I could have used those two quotes and come up with a wonderful blog right there. But then we would have been deprived of your answers. So, while you're here, any advice for aspiring authors?

HPR: Carla is such a wonderful person, and such a talent! We met after she read DRIVE TIME, and we've become great pals now. And dear Robert P. Parker was so generous and so supportive from moment one. I was terrified to request a blurb--just like with Sue Grafton!--and I have their blurb letters framed in my study. I'm so grateful.

On my bulletin board there are two quotes: One says, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" And that's so powerful to me. Because if you knew you would be successful, absolutely knew it, you'd do anything and battle any obstacles along the way, because you were sure that prize you sought was at the end of the road.

So that's how I try to look at my writing--and sometimes my reporting. I decide it's going to work. And then I do it. Can't hurt, right?

The other quote is from my mother. When I was in the midst of writing PRIME TIME, there was a moment I realized I had no idea what I as doing. You know? So I called my mother, and I said--I love PRIME TIME. It's fast-paced, and original and funny and smart. But I'm not sure I can finish it.

There was a pause on the other end of the line. And my mother said, "Well, honey, you will if you want to."

And I thought--Ah, Yes. It's something I can control. I think it's the same for all of us--we can put up obstacles to our writing, or we can decide to do it. We will if we want to. It's our choice. And I chose to do it.

D.B.:
I think your mom's my new hero. "You will if you want to." What a great quote. Thank you so much for being with us today. I don't need a crystal ball or even the Neilsen ratings to know that your fiction career is skyrocketing.

HPR: Oh, how lovely. Thank you. Crossing fingers. (And your questions are so thoughtful and perceptive). So hey, Donnell, let's celebrate. Let's give away three copies of the newly Agatha-nominated AIR TIME to names drawn from commenters, and a grand prize of limited edition TIME totebag with any three Charlie books inside!

D.B.: Works for me. And in honor of St. Patrick's Day I'd like to add a little bonus. For any commenter who pops onto Hank's website (here, I'll make it easy for you www.hankphillipppiryan.com and comes back and identifies one of the authors on her website you'll be entered to win this adorable "Am I Lucky or What?" Tinkerbell figurine. (BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN FIND YOU.)

So s
hall we get this party started? Questions for Hank? Comments?


**Newsroom Photo by Kara Delahunt.
Other photo by Lynn Wayne


ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN'S DRAWING (AND A SPECIAL P.S. SHE THREW IN EXTRA PRIZES !!!! ~~ WHAT A CLASS ACT; THANKS HANK!

CINDY CARROLL ~~~~ YOU HAVE WON AIR TIME!!!

KATHY CROUCH ~~~ SPECIAL PRIZE ARC OF PRIME TIME!!!

JENNY LYNN ~~~TOTE BAG & THREE BOOKS!!!

PAM ~~~ SPECIAL PRIZE: ARC of PRIME TIME!!!

DALE MAYER ~~~ AIR TIME!!!

CAROLINE DUNSHEATH ~~~ AIR TIME!!!


&


THE WINNER OF OUR ST. PATRICK'S DAY DRAWING....


"Am I Lucky or What?"


goes to....


MARY MARVELLA BARFIELD


TO RECEIVE YOUR PRIZES CONTACT HANK DIRECTLY THROUGH HER WEBSITE: www.HankPhillippiRyan.com
(click on Contact in the upper left as soon as the little movie resolves)


Thanks all! Happy Reading & Writing




Friday, March 12, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Creative Screenwriting

"The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it."
~Elizabeth Drew

"There was never a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn't be. He is too many people if he's any good."
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Please visit http://www.creativescreenwriting.com/



~LA

Monday, March 8, 2010

K.I.S.S.

Isn’t it funny how the oddest memories stick in your mind?

When I think about books and writing, my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Cessna will always take center stage. Back in the olden days when I was in elementary school, you were assigned a homeroom and you stayed there for all your classes. Teachers will always be my heros, but when I think back to one teacher being responsible for all our subjects, except PE, I shudder to think of the genius.

At Douglas Elementary, sixth grade, Mrs. Cessna was the teacher everyone wanted.

She was legend not because she was the coolest or easiest teacher. Everyone wanted Mrs. Cessna because she read to her class. I don’t mean story time in the pillow circle or once a week if our desks and room were neat – she read to us ALL THE TIME! If we were working on art projects, science projects, English lessons, sometimes even math, she’d stand in the front of the class and use her calm, yet animated, voice and read from whatever book she’d chosen. The effect she had on her classes totally blows the theory of you can’t do homework and watch TV/listen to music/have any noise in the background out the window. Not only did we learn our lessons, on a whole, our class hardly ever had take home work and we excelled in standardized tests.

She chose books that appealed to boys and girls alike, titles I never would have chosen for myself. Little Britches, A Long Way To Go, Brighty of the Grand Canyon stand out in my mind. Not until years later did I realize what all the books had in common – simplicity. These books held 32 sixth graders enthralled because they embraced the basic elements of writing: a good plot, colorful characters, straightforward language.

It’s that straightforward language that often throws writers for a loop.

I once read that most fiction is written at a fourth grade level. This isn’t to talk down to anyone, it’s to offer enjoyment and entertainment. Leave the long-winded, analytical papers and 10+ syllable word tombs to those who profess their passion for reading the scholarly classics. In today’s hurry up and stressed out world, most common folks want a book to sweep them away for a few hours, not make them reach for Webster’s Collegiate Edition every other page.

Writing simple could also be the key to writing fast. Get the story out and embellish later…but not too much. Just enough to perk up your setting and ignite your senses. Rumor has it that C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in only three months. Wow! Talk about being taken away…tossing away the dictionary…enthralling his audience.

First published in CS Lewis’ Letters To Children (1956), his 5 Tips for Writers is still valid today:

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “more people died” don’t say “mortality rose.”

4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are like saying to your readers, “Please, will you do my job for me?”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Are you starting a new manuscript? Have that outline all done and ready to flesh it out? Dust off the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Silly) and let your mind wander. No way can anyone tell me writing Narnia wasn’t an adventure!! Put the fun back in writing!!

Blessings to all!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Romancing the Script Contest

If you're a member of RWA
(Romance Writers of America)
this screenwriting contest is for YOU.

Don't hesitate to email me questions at the RTS.contest@gmail.com.

I know there must be lots of writers who have a screenplay tucked away, or are dying to start one. This contest has great prizes and FEEDBACK, traditional with RWA contests, but not so traditional with screenwriting contests unless you pay extra for notes.

Bring 'em on.

~ciao

LA

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Darker Than You Think -- After 30 years, a master continues to inspire

I love learning authors' backstory and what inspired them to write, so when the prolific thriller and romantic suspense author Rebecca York www.rebeccayork.com explained to Kiss of Death Chapter members that Author Jack Williamson inspired her to pen words to paper, I couldn't resist. I immediately ordered the talked-about novel DARKER THAN YOU THINK. It's been a tremendous learning experience, not just about the story itself, but about the author.

Darker Than You Think is the story of WILL BARBEE, a heavy drinking newspaper reporter assigned to cover the story of an archaeological teams' mysterious dig in the Gobi Desert. When Dr. Mondrick Lamarck and his team of scientists deplane, Will and a rival reporter APRIL BELL are there among other members of the press to meet the archaeologists at the airport. The team carries with them a mysterious trunk, but instead of being excited about what's in it, they're afraid -- intensely so. When Dr. Mondrick, the leader of the expedition, tries to explain what they found in the desert, which includes a secret enemy awaiting the coming of the "Child of the Night," he falls dead at reporters' feet, the apparent victim of a heart attack.

As for April Bell, a fellow reporter Will should see as his opposition, he finds he is intensely attracted to her, even though he senses she might have had something to do with Dr. Mondrick's death. As maddening dreams invade his waking life, and old friends start to die one after the other, Will stumbles onto a semihuman breed of shapeshifters who are waging an ancient war in the name of the Child of the Night.

For anyone who loves paranormal, Jack Williamson deftly combines elements of witchcraft, vampires and shapeshifters. His research, which includes history, archeology and probability and statistics was so realistic, I found myself wishing I'd built up my silver collection.

John Stewart Williamsom (April 29, 1908 - Nov 10, 2006) died at the age of 98. He was referred to as the "Dean of Science Fiction." The author of numerous science fiction and horror books, he was also a professor emeritus at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. In the 1950s he was presented by with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association.

Author Rebecca York wasn't the only author inspired by Jack Williamson. Williams' work has influenced bestselling work of writers like Stephen King and Anne Rice for decades. To think I might never have read him without Ms. York's recommendation. Thank you!

To Laura Hayden of Author! Author! thanks for scrambling to find this book for me. The original copyright was 1940 by Street & Smith Publications, renewed copyright in 1948 by Jack Williamson and the Introduction and copyright of my version says 1999 by Douglas E. Winter. It also has fantastic illustrations, copyright 1984 by David G. Klein. I wanted readers to see the cover. The one I found on line is okay, but I'm partial to the one Laura got for me (sorry, taken from my digital camera.) And I can't tell you how cool the illustrations are (but they too are copyrighted). Further my copy is not for sale.

Darker Than You Think is an outstanding book and outstanding teaching reference for anyone writing paranormal or studying craft in general.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Right Ending?

Sooo I've written 50 pages of my new book and loosely plotted 90% of it out, but I have no real idea how it will end. I often don't know the endings of my books until I write the rough draft and get to the spot where I must decide something, but this time I'm kind of really stumped.

I could envision 3-4 different endings and right now, none of them shout out that I MUST end it their way. Do you think there's really one best way to end a book? Not a romance--obviously, 'cause we KNOW that genre demands a happy ending where boy gets the girl, but women's fiction or suspenses. Is there really only one best ending?

Yikes. Perhaps once I write the rest of the book, it'll come to me?
What do you guys think?