Monday, December 30, 2013

Lisa has a new series!

The Family Stone Romantic Suspense novellas are here! Okay, well, two of the four are here. Others will be arriving soon....

Stone Cold Heart is available for $ 0.99 and Carved in Stone is $1.99. Only from Amazon, but coming soon to Kobo, BN and All Romance eBooks. Hope you all enjoy!!

Stone Cold Heart:
Jess Stone, former FBI sniper, always felt like the kid who looks in the candy store window but could never afford to go in. But on a humanitarian mission to aid an earthquake ravaged country, finally she finds a place where she fits, in Colin Davies' arms, and working for Global Humanitarian Relief, her big brother's company. But can the former SAS thaw Jess's stone cold heart?

Available on Amazon!

Carved in Stone:
Connor Stone has always been odd man out in his family. Not the oldest, not the most charming, he'd had a lock on the youngest until another half-sibling came to live with them, so he raised hell in his youth. Con knows now the only way to redeem himself is with deeds, not words and sets out to prove once and for all he is worthy of the Stone family. When his older brother asks him to take care of business, Con finally will have redemption he craves. Except when Ava Sanchez, his brother's assistant, is threatened, he must choose between saving the girl or protecting his family. Will his choice bring him love or break his heart?

Available on Amazon!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post-holiday, post-finishing blues

Christmas was lovely, truly lovely. My husband and I kept it super simple--he got the new Zatoichi collection, I got the Community DVDs. Why Community? Because the story arcs, character arcs, and rat-a-tat dialog are things of beauty, things that will make me a better writer.

Then we took the M Line in San Francisco, which runs right in front of our redwood-box of a house, down to the Embarcadero. We walked the length of it in the sunshine, smiling at all the tourists and enjoying the mellow feel of early Christmas day.

We had to stop at the Musee Mechanique, of course, and visit the seals at Pier 39, and debate whether to get curbside crab or not (not, this year).

Mysti playing Rosie at the USS Pampanito, a submarine of WWII vintage

The finale of our simple day was a ride on the cable car back to Powell Street, where we picked up the M Line to head back home. No matter how many times I ride it, I always see a new vision of the City from the cable car. And we always meet interesting people from all over the world as we wait in line. This year the sun beat down as if we were in Los Angeles. I miss the fog, but it made for a lovely day.

We keep it low key and drama free, plus, we can't bear to leave the city during the holidays--she empties out and cheers up and is generally a fabulous place to be, whether you live here or are only visiting. I've been in love with San Francisco since I was sixteen. Some crushes you just never get over.

Christmas is well and truly done.  With a twinge of regret, I have dived back into the business and art of writing today. My first batch of dream agents passed on my first crime novel By The Numbers, so it's back to identifying other brilliant agents who might be interested in a fraud investigator with a troubled past and a very dark future.  I know such people exist, I just have to find them. 

If I can't find them, then it's likely that something about my story is putting them off. I'll have to decide whether to keep writing #2, fix #1 (again!), or choose any of the many other options available to people who want to share their writing in this lovely age of instant gratification. 

Some friends had an easy time finding their first agent, but no writing friend has ever had a trouble-free journey to publication. So it's back to work, mateys. I can do it. And some days, I even like it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I have a new book out TODAY!  4th in the Haunted Home Renovation series...I hope you'll check it out, leave a review, tell your friends...and enjoy! 
--Juliet Blackwell

No good deed goes unpunished.

San Francisco contractor Mel Turner is leading a volunteer home renovation project, and while she expects lots of questions from her inexperienced crew, she can’t help asking a few of her own—especially about the haunted house next door…the place local kids call the Murder House.

But when volunteers discover a body while cleaning out a shed, questions pile up faster than discarded lumber. Mel notices signs of ghostly activity next door and she wonders: Are the Murder House ghosts reaching out to her for help, or has the house claimed another victim?

Now, surprised to find herself as the SFPD’s unofficial “ghost consultant,” Mel must investigate murders both past and present before a spooky killer finishes another job.

Buy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble or at an Indie near you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Good enough, done, and the magic of fiction

At work in the software factory, I never worry about whether my technical documentation is "good enough" or "done." It's done when the deadline arrives, and everything I can possibly do to make life better for our customers is poured into that bucket of a fixed size.

A group of programmers hard at work

Our help site serves hundreds of thousands of pages a month, and we know which content is good from ratings, comments, and other statistics. We fix what might not be working for our customers. Of course we try to get it right the first time, but we all know that perfection by deadline is impossible. So we do quality control, and we update, and there's really no such thing as writer's block or missing deadlines at work.

As Gigi mentioned, with fiction, the buckets of time given to any one work in progress are not fixed. I don't know any fiction writer* who sits down at the blank word processing file and says, "Okay, I've got 40 hours to outline, 160 hours to get the rough draft, 20 hours to up the stakes, 10 hours to fill in emotional color, 24 hours for sensory detail, and 1,000 hours to make it brilliant."

Because fiction doesn't work that way. It comes from both sides of a writer's brain. You can spend four, six, or eight hours a day writing, but one 45 minute session might net you three pages of your most brilliant work, while eight hours on a bad day might net you negative 600 words! And you can't just wait for the good days, you have to writer through the bad ones.

Hm, writers don't look so different from programmers on the outside!

Fiction is annoyingly non-modular. The basic building blocks of character, action, setting, theme, and premise are all wickedly intertwined and reinforcing. Character is action, or action is character, setting can become a character, and conflict can be revealed through dialog. White space, what you don't say, can illuminate what you are saying.

In software documentation, white space exists only to give our customers' eyes a rest, or a way to find the headlines. There's very little subtext in documentation.

As I struggle to really stop writing crime novel #1, and start #2 with full focus and concentration, I realize that some of my hesitation is simply that it doesn't ever feel done until a deadline is imposed. Or until you realize, as a wise friend once said, that you are simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I'm ready for a new ship. Goodbye, crime novel #1, it's been fun! But the horizon is calling me, and I'm really tired of those damn deck chairs.

* I do know one writer who may do this, but it's a hangover from her technical writing days, if she does.