My two extreme sides on sale this week!

High Tea & Flip-Flops cover

My publisher has put novels from my two extreme sides on sale this week. Written by my light side, you can get the first ebook in my romantic comedy series, High Tea & Flip-Flops, on sale for only $.99 at Amazon.com though July 13th.

And written from my dark side, which loves Stephen King’s work, my first horror/thriller ebook, Forever, is on sale for only $.99 at Amazon.com through July 12th.

Enjoy!

Linda

A Book Not for the Faint of Heart

Well, my latest novel, Forever, launched today. It’s available for sale on Kindle and the softcover should also be available in the next day or two. This launch is a bit low-key for me because I think I may not have been clear about the book’s genre in previous posts. So far, the reviews on Amazon and private comments from a couple of readers have fallen into two extremes. I may have written my first love it or hate it book.

Forever_postOne reviewer called it “very twisted” and took offense at the “graphic” sexuality and “profanity.” So, yeah, be forewarned—Forever is not like my other novels! It’s not women’s fiction, it’s not romantic comedy, it’s horror. It’s a book not for the faint of heart.

But at its heart, Forever is the story of a marriage tested by extreme circumstances. It’s the story of a husband and father, a good man, blindsided by a demonic entity. It’s the story of an ill-fated couple from a past century reincarnated in the present. I think it’s a great story, but then … I’m a Stephen King fan.

Sound like your cup of tea? Then start reading now on your Kindle or free Kindle app. I know, like most of us, you have a to-be-read list a mile long, so I’ll appreciate your devoting a few hours’ time to Forever. And if you do read it, please support me by leaving an honest review on Amazon.

Thank you!

Linda

Did I Really Write That?

Once upon a time, I decided to finally keep the promise I’d made to myself many times in my life: I’d write a novel. The year was 1999. At that time, most of the books I read were written by Stephen King or Maeve Binchy, so I guess it’s logical that I set out to write a character-driven paranormal story. I started writing in September and finished in the spring of 2000.

Somewhere during those months, I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) not because I was writing a romance, but because they were the only writing group I could find in my area. After that I did start calling it a paranormal romance and even entered the first three chapters in a national contest. The judges’ comments were unanimous: This is not a romance!

Okay then. I revised it to straight horror … or paranormal … or whatever you call a novel about reincarnation and an evil spirit.

And now, fourteen years later, I’m revising that novel again. In the intervening years, I pulled up that file and played at revision, but never got very far before real life called me away. So, when I pulled it up again this year, the beginning chapters seemed in pretty good shape. I even blogged at the beginning of this month that I’d looked through it and found the writing quality not as bad as I’d feared.

I just didn’t look far enough or read closely enough.

About halfway through, I hit the chapters that hadn’t been touched since 2000. Oh my, was I in love with dialogue tags back then. I used them for about sixty percent of the lines … in a conversation between only two people! And some of those tags were “telling” ones: “he growled” or “he huffed” or “she begged.” But even when I used plain old said, often I tacked on an adverb: “he said angrily” or “she said brightly” instead of making the dialogue and action do the work.

But the worst error, the one that really made me cringe, is in a love scene. No, I didn’t use silly euphemisms for body parts, though I did make the mistake of having the main character, a construction worker, use unlikely flowery language. But most egregious is the messy point of view. Though I’ve used three viewpoints in this novel, those are confined to one per scene or chapter (third person limited.) But in this love scene, the POV ping pongs from his to hers throughout (omniscient.)

Fortunately, I’d found only an occasional POV slip in all the previous chapters. But this scene … wow! Now, I have to decide from which character’s viewpoint the scene is best told and get to editing. The most rewarding thing about this revision is catching these mistakes. I’ve learned a lot about the craft in fourteen years … and I’m still learning.

When you look back at your older work, whatever that is, do you see progress—or were you great from the beginning?

 

Linda

Paranormal activity?

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Paranormal Activity. I had the best time possible while being terrorized—and eating Junior Mints! I have never experienced such tension. It took me ten minutes, after the movie ended, to get my breathing back to normal and longer than that before my muscles completely relaxed. (For you movie critics out there, yes, I could have done without the last thirty or so seconds of Hollywood cheese.)
paranormal_activity

Obviously, I love a good horror movie. And by good, I don’t mean the movies that are just an excuse to show a thousand gruesome ways to kill someone, I like the ones that play with your mind. The ones that maybe … just might … could possibly … really happen. Last year’s The Strangers was another movie I loved though, again, I think it ended two scenes too late.

A psychological element to the horror is far more interesting to me. I love walking a “what if” thought into the darkness. I have that kink in my mind. Every time I stand at the ocean’s edge feeling the wind and sun or mist, gazing out over the endless sea, I always have this thought: what if something HUGE rose up before me?

tule fog
Sometimes on winter nights, we have fog so thick you can’t see the front of your car as you’re driving. On those nights, I’m never quite sure my car won’t drive right into another dimension. When, in rare moments, I realize I hear no sounds at all, I fear time has frozen and I quickly look out the window to make sure I can see something moving. Once, while hiding in the dark bathroom, moaning like a cartoon ghost to fun-scare the kids, I frightened myself so, with the sense that something stood behind me, that I had to turn on the light and stop the game.

I’m telling you this because I’ve been thinking about writing horror again. Cold and dreary winter is almost as good as dark and stormy nights for writing dark tales. There’s an art to probing into that visceral layer where blackness rages, then pulling back into the light at just the right second. The dark half in me knows she will never master that art, but she needs to purge her thoughts about what really goes bump in the night.

You create it, you own it

I wrote my first novel ten years ago. It began life as a romance novel and died a horror novel. No joke. Like Barbara Cartland morphing into Stephen King.

In my defense (if stupidity can be considered so) I’d never read a romance Romance before, but this was about a man and a woman and sex and all that good stuff, so that’s a romance novel, right? So, I joined the local Romance Writers of America chapter. I attended meetings and learned much from the great Alicia Rasley who co-authors a great blog Edittorrent. I even entered my first 30 pages in a major contest and received some helpful feedback. So helpful, in fact, that I learned what I had written was NOT a romance. The judges told me quite politely—considering—that you can’t have the protagonist committing adultery with a younger woman, while his adoring—and quite possibly dying—wife carries on blindly, cooking healthy meals to keep his cholesterol down and reminiscing about how he stole her heart at first sight. Bad form, that.

But … but … but … I had 80,000 words written! Sooooo, there’s always revision. What if some evil entity—immortal, of course—searching for the loving couple who escaped his wrath 200 years ago, comes to town in the guise of a realtor, meets Philandering Husband and says, “Gotcha, boy, and now I’m gonna make you pay!” Oh, the transformation was marvelous. Suddenly, I had reincarnation, telepathy, demonic possession, mind control … just all sorts of goodies to work with. Not to mention, a vicious, bloody end to Younger Woman.

But here’s the thing, I’ve never forgotten this protagonist. Every so often, I get a wave of guilt for writing him into such a mess. I feel like I owe him a better novel. So, today I dared to open those long-shut files. I was prepared to cringe at the quality of writing, but you know, it really isn’t all that bad. And sure, I’d have to lose the supernatural elements, and the violence, and it might be nice to give Darling Wife a brain, but hey, it’s 90,000 words already written! Maybe … just maybe …