Suspense or Boring with Linda Glaz

The last post I asked Linda to tell us why she wrote suspense. Today I ask her to share how she does it. Welcome back, Linda. Inquiring minds needs to know.

 

I’d love to be able to tell someone how to get the crazies out of the head and into the story with some kind of structure. But I am…yes…a seat of the pantster.

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I’m a Pantster

And in my case, at least, that makes for one heckuva gigantic PLOT!

I do have a method, and I use it most of the time. When starting a new story, I write a fifty page or so summary. It’s all telling, very little dialogue, but has most of what I want to happen in it. Then I rewrite with dialogue, the five sense, description, and last but not least, character development. And this is where it gets interesting. In fact, the first time it happened, I thought I had completely lost my mind.

It was twenty years ago when I first wrote Blow Out the Candles and Say Good-Bye, my December 2017 release. I had written in a fairly unimportant secondary character who without warning became paramount to the story. He simply took over part of the book. It was satisfying, creepy, and wonderful. Then toward the end, he showed me how very evil he really was. I didn’t expect that for one second. The character I’d planned to fill that slot simply wasn’t crazy enough.

When a character lets me know they aren’t what I’m writing, it goes something like this:

“I’d never kill someone! Are you crazy?” And I think I’ve answered that well enough already.

“Hehehe, fooled even you, the writer. You never saw it coming, did you?” And I’ll discover that he or she is really the evil in the story. That is when that character’s development actually starts. He/she showed me their true personality.

Now, before you slap me in a straitjacket and haul me away, let me say this: writers have hundreds of voices and characters waiting their turn to get out of the writer’s mind and fill the pages. Sometimes, as authors, we simply let the wrong one out at the wrong time. Or, in this instance, at the right time. I had a fairly innocuous character who showed me his evil side, and the darkest malevolence was born, making the story much stronger. I hadn’t planned it, hadn’t intended for him to take such an active role in the story, but take it he did!

So my structure for writing suspense? Take the idea and simply start writing, then as the characters reveal their true inner selves, adjust and write some more. You might find after you’ve finished the entire story that the murderer you picked could never have done such a thing. Don’t try to force the character to fit your mold. GO BACK, and fit the character’s personality to the story, or find another character. One who is much more mad than you’d even planned!

I love plot driven stories. I know, I know. Deep POV and all that jazz. Yes, you need to make those characters sing with a lot of personality and with baggage that make them who they are, even if only alluded to. But for me, it’s the unexpected happening, both with character development and plot that make the reader keep turning pages.

Don’t limit yourself and your ideas, and especially, don’t limit your characters. Let them live their lives. Listen, and discover who they really are. You want your reader to tell you: “I NEVER saw that coming. Really?!?!?” You might surprise us all…

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More About Linda S. Glaz

Linda is an author and agent with Hartline Literary Agency.

She’s married with three children and three grandchildren.

Having served in the Air Force at a time when it wasn’t exactly politically correct for a woman, she blazed many firsts for women in the military. She has taught karate and self-defense for thirty years and was a National instructor and referee for the largest soccer youth group in the US for twenty-five years. She isn’t afraid to try something new.

Before joining Hartline, Linda was a reviewer for online romance sites, a final proofreader for a publisher, and organized and ran two separate writers’ groups. She worked for two years as an editorial assistant to Terry Burns at Hartline.

Linda has two novellas, six short novels, one romantic suspense published, and one to release in 2017. Five more are burning a hole in her hopeful pocket.

She’s a member of ACFW, AWSA, and numerous other writers’ groups. She presents nationally each year at conferences, teas, churches, workshops, and various other venues. She’s also active on social media.

Linda loves to laugh and make other people laugh. There is definitely healing and joy in laughter.

She’s forever on the lookout for ideas that will turn into a suspenseful novel, and as an agent, is always looking for that next great blockbuster novel.

Don’t forget to comment on this post for a chance to win Fear is Louder Than Words.

The Suspense Writer: Smart and Witty or a Tad Crazy?

After I read Fear is Louder than Words I knew I had to invite Linda S. Glaz to Jubilee Writer. Her suspense novel kept me so engaged. The stalker remained a mystery until the last few chapters. I asked her why she loves to write suspense.

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Do you have to be sassy and smart, or a bit crazy to write really good suspense?

The jury’s still out on me!

I’m the person who loves to watch/read about really bad characters that you love to hate. I know, that says something very strange about me, but I write suspense! So is that all right?

I have always enjoyed the journey of digging into a really bad character, wondering and, hopefully, making the reader wonder just what makes the crazy tick. For me, that’s an adventure. I love leaving tiny hints and trails for the reader to discover. I’m enthralled with digs into the character’s psyche. I’m one of those who wormed into Hannibal Lecter’s head to find out WHY? Why, oh, why would anyone be so disturbed?

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Can you see the smile on my face right now? Thank goodness…

You see, it’s like the roller coaster. It scares the dickens out of you and then brings you safely home. A good suspense novel will do the same. It will scare you until you’re listening to every creak and groan in the house, but once finished, you’ll be safe at home again.

I love it!

Let me give you hint at a really disturbed character from my Dec. 2017 release, Blow Out the Candles and Say Good-Bye:

 

Rural Wisconsin, 1983

The little demons’ cries roused the snake that gnawed at Laura’s gut. They’d better shut up soon or she’d lose the phony smile and shut them up Laura style.

She swallowed hard to push the snake down … down … down. Back where it belonged. Laura grasped the steering wheel with tight-knuckled hands and stared into her rearview mirror. Her eye twitched, but she jerked a finger up and stopped the rhythmic pulsing.

Six girls, all aged five save the youngest at four, clung to one another in the backseat. Grasping little monkeys with fearful wide eyes and noses dripping snot all over their clothes.

She jammed a fist against her temple.

The sixth girl, Cassandra, no, Amanda, glared at Laura. Her sharp stare and crossed arms dared the snake to unwind and strike, but only Laura allowed that. Not some stupid little monster who didn’t know her place.

Laura cleared her throat and shifted her gaze to the miles of hypnotizing asphalt ahead. No brat was going to sidetrack her.

 

I like to believe that each human born has the capacity for good…or evil. I’ve seen it and wondered just what makes a person choose the other path…the dark side as it were. For most of us we all fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Hopefully doing our best to be good, to be caring and compassionate. But what creates in a man or woman the inability to see past their own desires? THAT is what intrigues me, and that is what makes for good suspense…I hope. Since my next novel depends on it.

You need good characters who find themselves trapped. You can add that delicious taste of romance or not. Up to you. But you need to have them tormented and on track to discover the bad guys before their own lives are in jeopardy. If it’s romantic suspense, it works best if the two of them are on the path together.

I, personally, like to use multiple points of view in my suspense. I believe it lends itself to building the sense of fear. But that’s just me. You might like the more traditional POV.

Let me leave you doubting my sanity with one more snippet of our antagonist twelve years later:

…She cackled then slapped a hand over her mouth as their boring, pleading prayers filled the room.

“Please God, bring Mommy and Daddy back.”

“Why doethn’t Mommy want me anymore?”

“Di’Mommy really die, God? Why’d you let her die?”

Enough. But with melodramatic compassion, she forced a teardrop to the edge of her eye. “Poor, precious darlings. Tomorrow morning we’ll go through Minneapolis on our way out. We’ll be shopping for new toys and clothes. You can pick them out yourselves. Won’t that be fun? But first, you all have to snuggle in for the night. Warm and comfy like little bugs in a rug.” She forced her lips to curl up at the edges like a beauty queen, as if cameras captured her every move. Just like college where she’d performed each ingénue role to perfection.

She twisted back, her lips pulling tight. What was that smell? Had one of them peed her pajamas? Sick. If the brat did it again, she’d slap her into a diaper. Being upset didn’t give anyone permission to pee themselves.

Mother had taught her that.

There are rules! And rules must be obeyed!

 

You’ll have to excuse me now, it’s time for my medication. Hehehehe…

 

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Linda, you are such a hoot. I love the snippets of your new book. Just creepy enough to grab my interest.  I’ve decided to invite you back Thursday to share how you build your suspense world. So, this week anyone who comments on this post or Thursday’s post will be put in a drawing for Fear is Louder Than Words.

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click here to  order.

More about Linda S. Glaz

Linda is an author and agent with Hartline Literary Agency.

She’s married with three children and three grandchildren.

Having served in the Air Force at a time when it wasn’t exactly politically correct for a woman, she blazed many firsts for women in the military. She has taught karate and self-defense for thirty years and was a National instructor and referee for the largest soccer youth group in the US for twenty-five years. She isn’t afraid to try something new.

Before joining Hartline, Linda was a reviewer for online romance sites, a final proofreader for a publisher, and organized and ran two separate writers’ groups. She worked for two years as an editorial assistant to Terry Burns at Hartline.

Linda has two novellas, six short novels, one romantic suspense published, and one to release in 2017. Five more are burning a hole in her hopeful pocket.

She’s a member of ACFW, AWSA, and numerous other writers’ groups. She presents nationally each year at conferences, teas, churches, workshops, and various other venues. She’s also active on social media.

Linda loves to laugh and make other people laugh. There is definitely healing and joy in laughter.

She’s forever on the lookout for ideas that will turn into a suspenseful novel, and as an agent, is always looking for that next great blockbuster novel.

Don’t forget, comment for a chance to win a copy of Fear is Louder Than Words. And if you want to continue to follow Jubilee Writer click the button in the upper left.

 

 

 

Reflections on My Online Launch party

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A week ago today was my virtual book launch. It was both exciting and scary. Exciting because it was a launch for my book and not someone else’s. Exciting because it was a launch for my book and not someone else’s. I’ve been to others launches. But being the center of the launch was surreal.

I don’t have the sales figures yet because my book released on the 15th. But I think the launch did bring more interest in my novel. Paige Boggs, my marketing guru thought it went well.

Be Proactive

I decided to be proactive in advance. I’ve read lots of blogs from successful authors to start garnering interests early. I posted some trivia facts about Secrets and Charades and things I’d learned from my research on my author page every Monday for seven weeks. Then I post the whole group as a post the day before the launch. Then I composed seven trivia questions to post on my launch. Some were true or false. Others were multiple choice questions. You could check the facts before answering or just guess. Of course, I had to post the answers at the end of the party so those who answered the trivia could grade themselves.

Every commenter was placed in my drawing for a variety of things. I gave away one paperback version and one kindle version of my book and amazon gift card and stuff related to my story.

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I posted about each item and how it related to the story. And I cut and pasted the trivia questions so I had more time to comment to commenters.

The last portion was a Q &A for me. People actually asked me questions—amazing. My friend and fellow-author John Turney kept everything pretty lively with his silly comments and fun questions. Having veterans of launch parties attend helped keep the discussions lively.

People hung around at the end to see who won what prizes.  Paige has a randomizer thingy that choices winners. The winners were pretty excited. And it seemed everyone , whether they stopped by for the whole two hours or for a few minutes had fun.

Those from my stage crew who could attended were among my guests and they brought along their friends.

Benefits of the party

I noticed this blog has picked up some more traffic.

More people have their curiosity piqued about the book and are talking about it with friends.

I’ve been notified by those who attended or just saw the announcement that they had ordered my book.

After the party

Now I’m busy with the help of my amazing husband sending out prizes to the lucky winners. Note to self. Postage is a real downer.

 

Have you ever attended a launch party? What did you think of it? Have you hosted one? How did it go for you?

 

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Rebecca Waters:Be Prepared Because God Has a Plan…and It Includes You

 

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Becky Waters

Rebecca Waters

Today I’m so pleases to have fellow-author Rebecca Waters sharing some wonderful insights with us.

The end of March marks the three-year anniversary of my first novel, Breathing on Her Own. A couple of life lessons have been reinforced for me since I made the decision to become a published author.

 

 

Lesson 1- God can see around the corners and has a plan for you.

As a child I enjoyed capturing my thoughts and ideas on paper. As an adult I used my writing skills to entertain my own children as well as students in my classroom. I followed God’s lead to pen both a master’s thesis and a doctoral dissertation at the University of Cincinnati. The door then opened for me to serve as the chair of the education department at a Christian university. The university needed someone with the background, credentials, and writing skills to put together a state approved and nationally accredited teacher education program.

I knew I was a writer. I didn’t think of myself as an author.

My husband and I made the decision to retire early following his quadruple bypass surgery. We gave ourselves one year to make plans to retire then we would pack up our belongings and head to Florida for the winter—Tom to golf and fish and me? I was clueless as to what I would do. I prayed about it.

In February, two months after we made that decision, I announced to my husband I would become a published author. Tom, the encourager, offered his full support. The notion was God’s, not mine. I got busy drafting a business plan for my writing and crafting a novel.

I signed up for two days at the Write-to-Publish conference in Illinois, where, by the way, I met Cindy Huff as we stood side-by-side signing up for appointments with agents and publishers. My last appointment of the conference was with Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. We met, I pitched my book, and two months later I received a contract for Breathing on Her Own. I finished writing it a few days before my “retirement” party.51Zlo60t2cL._AC_US218_

Breathing on Her Own was released the last week of March 2014. My husband died in a bicycle accident the last week of October 2014.

I trust God because He can see around the corners. He knew I needed this new direction in my life. He also knew my words could inspire readers. He had more confidence in what I could accomplish than I did. I cling to Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

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Lesson 2- Do all you can to prepare yourself for the work God has called you to do.

That February morning I was confident I was going to become a published author. I used spring break to research and draft the business plan for my new career in writing. I made a list of my strengths and weaknesses and set out to learn everything I could about the industry. I now work with writers to draft their own business and marketing plans.

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Part of my business plan was to attend a writing conference. I could only afford two days of the four-day conference but I made the most of it. I picked the brains of the presenters, agents, editors, and publishers. I gleaned information from every attendee I met. I knew nothing about blogs, building a platform, or even how to write a query letter. I wasn’t sure what God intended for me to write. I only knew I needed to be prepared and to walk through any door He opened.

Convinced that blogging should be added to my business plan, I researched the topic, read several blogs (making note of what I liked and didn’t), and signed up for a free webinar on blogging. I drafted several posts, signed up with a blog host and launched A Novel Creation the first week of January 2013 from Florida.

 

Preparing for the work God has called me to do has been fruitful. In addition to that first novel, I’ve published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Home Health Aide Digest, and The Lookout Magazine. I’ve taken my blog posts a step further penning the Writing to Publish series which includes three titles: Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You and Your Writing 101, and Writing with E’s. Money received from these handbooks for writers goes to The Thomas R. Waters Memorial Scholarship for Ergonomics Research fund set up by the CDC Foundation.writing with e's Edd 3

You may already have these truths permeating every thought and activity in your life. But for me, the journey has been a good reminder that God can see around the corners so I need to prepare myself for what He has in store next. He has a plan.

In honor of the Third Anniversary of Breathing On Her Own Rebecca is offering a free Kindle version to one lucky Commenter.

About Breathing On Her Own

Molly Tipton looks forward to a peaceful retirement, but her life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and forced to deal with past mistakes. If it’s true that time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

Click here to order Breathing On Your Own.

click here to order Kindle version of Designing a Business Plan for Writers

Click here to order  an Kindle copy of Marketing You and Your Writing 101

Click here to order a Kindle copy of Writing to Publish Writing with E’s

Learn more! Visit Rebecca’s site & Read  her blog
Let’s connect! Follow her on Twitter & Like  her on Facebook
 Ask any questions you may have about marketing and the business of writing. Becky will be happy to answer them.

 

 

 

When Your Book Debuts:Virtual Book Launch, Giveaways and Blog Tours

 

celebration-2003146_1280Virtual Parties pepper cyber space. These events cover everything from a new product line to a Birthday party for a loved one far away. Virtual Book launch parties are the new must do thing for Authors who are serious about marketing their books. I’ve been to a few. Now it is time for me to host my own. I’m looking forward to seeing how successful my launch will be.

My novel Secrets and Charades releases Wednesday. I’m celebrating on my Facebook Author page. click here. My marketing Diva Paige has set up the event and all of you are invited to attend. Here is the link to the event page.

I’ll be playing a trivia game. Commenters can find the answers on my Author page. The prizes are fun items related to my story. A few lucky commenters will win free copies of my novel in Kindle and paperback. I’m also adding an Amazon gift card to the mix. I’ll be premiering my book trailer as well.

We’ll have a fun and you won’t even have to leave your house. The cool thing about a virtual party is you can go visit it after the party is no longer live. So if 2-4pm CST doesn’t work for you check out the fun for a few more days.

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My biggest fear in planning this party is very few people will stop by to say hello and comment. And when we have a Q&A no one will have any questions. So, this is a big step for me. I’ll share what I learned from my experience in a later post.

Stop by, invite your friends. I won’t be posting on this blog Thursday because I’ll be busy decorating.

Blog Tours

Blog Tours are another must for Authors. So, I’m doing guest posts for twelve different blogs.Three have already been posted and the rest will post this week. Tomorrow the actual day my book releases you can find me on three more.

here Author Culture

here Beth Ziarnek

here Love lines from God

. I’ll be giving away books to commenters there too. More chances to win

Speaking of winners Heather Roberts is the first official winner of my novel from last weeks post on memes. Congratulations Heather.

 

 

 

Memes, Storylines, and a Giveaway

Here are a few memes created for Secrets and Charades. Do you see a story thread here. They are a necessary part of your marketing tool box. If you’re not comfortable doing them yourself find someone who does. It’s worth the time and effort.

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Eye twitch meme

Creating memes from key phrases in a novel is always a challenge. But it can be fun too. It is a great way to create interested in your novel.  Do you see the story thread in these?

I’d love to see your memes. Post them in the comments. Or the link to them. In honor of the upcoming release of Secrets and Charades I’ll give away an autographed copy to one of  the commenters.

Grammie, Why’s Your Picture On This Book?

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My three granddaughters with Grammie’s book.

You can see by the picture my proof copy arrived. It was a surreal moment. I stared at the cover. Ran my hand over the picture. Turned it over to see my face staring back at me. Opened the pages and read snippets. I wrote these words. Somehow it doesn’t seem possible that the story I labored over is now between the covers of a book.

My granddaughter, Victoria said it best. “Grammie , why is your picture on this book?”

Books are something we have. Something we take for granted. My grandchildren read their stories with no thought of the process involved in writing them. Most author pictures are strangers to the reader.

The revelation comes to us. Books are written by real people when we know the author. People have told me how excited they are to know a “real” author. My minimal celebrity status feel weird.

I’m thrilled to have a book published. But I know this is only the beginning. I don’t want to be a one-book wonder. I know my fame lasts only until the reader finds another author to follow. Unlike movie stars, no one will remember what I look like. They may vaguely remember the title. And in the pool of millions of authors, I am a raindrop in the ocean.

Still, it’s nice to know my efforts are recognized.

I love this story and hope others do too. That would be my greatest accolade. Someday my granddaughter will have enough reading skills under her belt to read this story if she chooses too. I hope the connection will help her understand why my picture is on the back cover. I hope by then to have many more stories with my face smiling at perspective readers.

Secrets and Charades releases March 15th. You can order it on Amazon in either paperback or kindle. Click here.secret-charades-front-cover

Want to keep following my blog? Maybe see some more cute pictures of grandchildren. 🙂 Click on the button in the left-hand column to get started.