Upcoming Blog Tour

So, I’m finally going to do it. I’m going on a blog tour. I should have done this last June, when my debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, came out, but I didn’t know how, and was too busy with life to learn.

The tour starts January 16, 2012 at Peg Herring’s Blog:  http://cozymurdermysteries.blogspot.com, with a review of the novel. I’ll send out other reminders, with more article titles and places where the book will be reviewed, or I will be interviewed and a full list will be available at http://www.ll-publications.com/blog

May you all have success and find joy in the New Year!

BOOK REVIEW: Never Smile At Strangers

With well rounded characters and a strong plot, Jennifer Minar-Jaynes has created a mystery full of Southern charm and the horrid consequences of lives steeped in secrets. The mystery itself was enough to keep me reading, but along the way I felt such compassion for the characters, even the terribly scarred ones, that I needed to learn the truth about what was happening to the young women of Grand Trespass, Louisiana.

This book is a keeper, to be read over and over, and shared with family and friends. It brings back the days of my youth in the South, with great description that reminded me of swimming holes and humid nights filled with the sounds of bull frogs and crickets, and dialogue that took me back to playing with cousins as my mother and aunt sat on the front porch.

I Have This Cat…

We have this monster cat named Hannibal. He’s a tuxedo cat, black with a white ring around his neck, a white chest and tummy and white shoes on the front and stockings on the back. His fur is silky, his eyes are golden, with a hint of green. He’s beautiful. On the outside. On the inside, he lives up to his name, Hannibal the cannibal. He bites. He fights. He’s jealous. He’s temperamental, he’s stubborn. And he thinks he belongs to Joe, the English chocolate lab. These two can make my day sometimes. Hannibal winds himself around Joe’s legs. Joe chews at Hannibal’s fleas.

These two have made me consider writing a book from a dog’s POV. Or maybe one with a cat whose thoughts I write out, as he plays the roll of the fly on the wall. Imagine what a cat hears on a daily basis!

I wanted to share this because when I’m having a rough day, Hannibal will come lay on my chest and purr himself to sleep, as if he knows it’s not a day to be messing with me. He did that for me today when my brain was fried and I couldn’t seem to get anything done. It occurred to me that there have been all kinds of studies about how animals help people, relieving stress, bringing comfort. So if you find yourself unable to write, or do anything else, try snuggling up to a cat, or dog, or bunny.

This time of year is especially hard because we lost a child during December and though it’s been a while, we still miss her. Apparently, Hannibal felt my pain today and came to love on me. And he only bit me once!

There is nothing like the unconditional love of a pet. I hope everyone takes time out this month to help out the abandoned pets in this country. Volunteer at a shelter, or bring treats for the animals. Adopt if you can but don’t think you are unable to help if you can’t adopt. The shelters need money, food, treats, help.

Hannibal moved me to just send out a memo to remind everyone that animals are people too.

Taking Care Of Me First

I can’t believe how hard it is to take care of me. Just taking time out to walk for a few minutes, or do the exercises given to me by the physical therapist seems impossible.

I think this is the first article I’ve posted that really says something deeply personal about me. I’ve tried to concentrate on the art and skill of writing, getting published and promoting. I don’t know that this type of article is of any interest to readers and writers. But after over 100 posts, I think it’s time to share more than the outside, the public, side of me.

When I was an officer at the Sheriff’s Dept., I worked out every day, sometimes at two o’clock in the morning, but I got it done. Twelve years later I can’t do thirty minutes three times a week. Even very slow walking wears me out.

I’m so glad I gave myself several months to prepare for the blog tour. If I had tried to do it in just a few weeks, I would never have survived. I try to do something regarding promotions at least 3 days a week. And I’m supposed to be working on book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series but I’m just not able to do it all.

I can promote, or write, or take care of me, but I can’t possibly do all three, and even doing two is a challenge. My own personal health always seems to sink to the bottom, which sets off a chain of events that brings everything to a grinding halt.

I’ve read blogs and books by very successful authors who take time out every morning to work out. I’m not a morning person, and besides, my pain is usually worse when I wake up, and then again late in the day, than in the middle of the day. Since I know this, I’m trying to do my little routine after lunch. Today was a day to walk a few minutes but since I didn’t really get to sleep until after four this morning, I am already behind the eight ball today.

I have a great hubby, but he is not well and I want to spend every moment I can with him, while I still have him. I just don’t know how other writers work it all in without burning out to the point of illness.

I’d love to hear from those of you have overcome illness and managed to continue to write and promote. I know I’ll never give up, but some days I wonder if my tenacity is good for me or not.

Upcoming Blog Tour

I’m finally going to take the plunge and actually take a tour of several blogs, promoting my debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery. To that end I’m looking for a few more blogsters who would be willing to host me oh their blogs. I’m looking to fill these dates: Jan 23rd through 25th.

The tour starts January 16th and I’ll be announcing the route soon!

#Ryder’s Journal–Wednesday December 14, 2011

2011 has been a long year. Yes, my book was published, which was wonderful. And yes, it’s getting great reviews. But personally, life has been hard. I was diagnosed with a third invisible disease this year. My husband’s decline has worsened. But my faith has increased and I feel blessed every day to have a home, and family and friends, and to know where my next meal is coming from–things that a lot of Americans don’t have these days.

The plan for 2012 is to finish book two of the Trey Fontaine Mystery series and get it published while promoting book one. I have been close to bed ridden for a while now, able to get up, but without energy or strength. So my health is going to have to come first. My plan for that is to increase my supplements, eat better, and move a little more. And I’m hoping to finally find a solution to the pain issue.

For now, I still want to add to my journal daily and will try again to do that. Please bear with me as I push forward.

Reading and Reviewing older books

I have sooo many books. Not just on the overloaded book shelves, but on tables, on speakers, on trunks, everywhere. So in 2012, my goal is to read some of them and then get rid of them.

I don’t know how often this is done, but I plan to review them, whether they are classics, old, or just not brand new. I have everything from Shakespeare, to Jean Auel, to Tess Garretsen, and hundreds of others.
I’m going to start with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, which I read every December, and then go on to finish Pillars of the Earth and the Outlander Series.

If they are keepers, I’ll find a shelf for them. If they are not, I’ll probably donate them to the local thrift store. Either way, every author will get a review. Speaking of which, I’ll be doing some reviews and interviews, as well as hosting some guest posts from great authors in 2012–the schedule is filling quickly. And I’ll start promoting my blog tour soon too. Every event will be sent to my facebook page and twitter, so look out, Ryder has been turned loose!

Characters Run Amuck: What do you do when a character takes over and develops a mind of her own?

This article is part of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tours Ink blog hop for Monday, December 12, 2011. For other articles on this subject, see the list of other participants below the article.

And now for my article: Characters Run Amuck

Have you ever had a character hijack your story and run with it? I hate it when that happens.  In my debut novel, Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery,  there is a character named Gemini Taylor who likes to be in charge. She kept trying to become the lead and push all the other characters out of the way. I can’t count how many pages she stole before I finally got her under control.

I think maybe this comes from being able to identify with the character. We see ourselves in that character and want her to succeed, and so we let her get away with stuff that no one else can. But ultimately, the writer has to make a decision and take back control. My way of handling it is to go ahead and write all those pages the character demands, then pick the best of the writing and put the rest in a folder to save for later, just in case. I find this works for me because I’m not eliminating the words, nor refusing to let the character speak.

I try to keep in mind the fact that I created this character, and ultimately, she is part of me. I must let her speak, but I don’t have to let her make the final decisions. I have a friend who is a writer. She told me that while she was writing a book that had a minor character in it, that character started visiting her and bugging her to write a book where he was the lead. She explained to him that in the next book, he would be the lead, but this book had to be finished first. That seemed to work for her.

Yes, we both sound a little nuts, but after all, aren’t most writers a little off? I mean, really, what kind of person can think up this stuff, create people out of thin air and make you believe they are real, and their stories are real? We sit for hours day dreaming, planning, creating, until we have the right people, in the right circumstances, to entice readers to spend hours with those people and care about their story. And don’t tell anyone, but some of us are…uh…wacko.

Take me for instance. I love to get into the heads of serial killers, rapists, molesters, and assorted fiends. I can live there for a long time. That can’t be the sign of a normal well-adjusted person, can it?

For another article on this subject, please visit: 

Kathleen Kaska at http://kathleenkaskawrites.blogspot.com