IWSG 50: WRITERS EVOLVE

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

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Co-Hosts: | Nicki Elson | Juneta Key | Tamara Narayan | Patricia Lynne

OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

Writers evolve because over time not only do we get better at the craft we see all kinds of possibilities we ignored in the beginning. Most of us start off modest. Well, I did at any rate.

now i have a goal

My goal lately is to find an agent, but like many of you that’s not how it started. It started with entering a contest and receiving an honorable mention. After many more words and a few published shorts, it brought me to the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Like everyone else that enjoys membership I write because I can’t stop. It’s amazing how secure I feel when I know I’m not alone.

I get lost in storytelling

Sometimes I’m secure and brave enough to start brainstorming, or outlining.

I get moments when I’m lost in my imagination and can live there for months. I don’t mind the hard work of getting the story down. I’m happiest when I’m up to my elbows and don’t worry about where it will lead.

Too scary for me, so I won’t over think it.

When I incorporate feedback and think the work is polished enough, I live in moments of bravery or madness and submit. Sometimes it pays off. I try not to over think that either.

someone else liked my work

It turned out someone thought I was worth publishing. It was validation. I got it. I guess I want more of it.

Seeking Representation is evolution

So things have changed from contests and short to novels and seeking an agent. I could be mad, as in crazy as a loon, or maybe I’m brave. In the end it won’t matter. What matters is moving forward one word at a time.

Big plans or little. How’s it going for you?

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Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson

Thanks for hosting me on your site today to celebrate the release of my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina. This is the first book in the lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series, featuring a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

My own sailing adventures and misadventures inspired me to write this series. My husband and I bought our first sailboat in New Zealand in 2012. After a couple of years cruising in those beautiful waters, we returned to the States and bought a bigger boat which we moved onto in 2015. We’ve since cruised in Florida and the Bahamas, labored over endless boat projects, and worked to keep our cruising kitty (savings) topped up.

I wanted to reflect my experiences learning to sail, cruising and living aboard a boat, and being part of the boating community in my cozy mysteries. You could say that there’s a little bit of me in my main character, Mollie.

I thought I’d share one of the boating tidbits which I wrote about in Murder at the Marina—namely, pets on boats. Mollie encounters a Japanese bobtail cat, Mrs. Moto, at the marina who lives aboard a boat with her owners. Mrs. Moto loves to run around the place, jump on other people’s boats, and chase seagulls on the beach. Mollie falls in love with the cat and quickly discovers that Mrs. Moto has an uncanny ability to find clues which help solve the mystery.

While we’ve had a dog and cats when we lived on land, we don’t currently have (or plan on having) pets on board. So, I like to live vicariously through other people’s pets. At our current marina, we have friends with dogs who have to be carried up and down ladders while their boats are up on the hard. A few slips down from us, there’s a boat with a cat door which enables its resident tabby to go in and out as she pleases. It’s fun to watch these critters explore the marina and make friends with them.

If you’d like to learn more about Mollie and her sailing adventures, you can find details about Murder at the Marina below.

About the Book

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1

by

Ellen Jacobson

Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0

 

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Where to buy

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Kobo

Barnes & Nobel | Apple iBooks | Google Play

About Ellen

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and scifi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

Ellen’s Links

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Twitter |

Toolbox 11: 5 Things to Include When Building Characters

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.

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Someone made a comment about my method of description. It got me thinking about what I do and why I do it.

It starts with tagging

Many of you know I outline and when I’m getting the ideas down, none of my characters have names. Just as in a logline, my characters are: 16 yo misfit, honest cop, alien cop, vic, ex-girlfriend, obvious enemy, best friend. I use place holders for each character I need.

I outline the now and the history, giving most characters a common background. I’ve discussed before how a shared history can bump up the drama and motivations between all the characters. It may seem like work but once the history is in place, the rest takes care of itself.

appearance is about climate, lifestyle and how they thrive

A character’s appearance can be chosen by weather, time for hygiene, what they eat/drink. I have a cop in my latest WIP and he works hard—sometimes too hard—so he’s not clean shaven, his shirt has stains of sweat, fast food and coffee. It doesn’t bother him because he’s too focused on what he needs to do next. He lives in the Pacific Northwest and because it rains a lot, he wears a fedora and a trench coat. For the record, he’d never make it as Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe.

Tags must be unique to each character

The trick is give each character individual traits. All of them can have brown eyes but one. All of them can be dark haired but one. All medium build but one.

For example, my cop is the only character with thinning mousy hair, blue eyes, trench coat, and fedora. He may share other features with the rest but I don’t focus on them.

How they say it

My cop uses a brutally honest manner without an internal editor. He thinks he’s a people person as he storms around invading pretty much everyone’s personal space.

Early in the story he’s given a secret that he has some major trouble keeping. If it wasn’t for his partner, he’d have blabbed right away.

not actions but reactions

I tag his emotions (reactions) with specific actions. He pokes a finger in faces when he’s angry, expels breath like steam when he’s trying to maintain control and blinks surprise when others don’t see him as the person he thinks he is.

Who wouldn’t love a forthright, honest man, who would do anything to protect the innocent.

When he puts it that way he sounds great… but is he? Most see a loud mouth cop, who thrives on conflict.

(freebie) Characters bloom a little more with each revision

Every time I go through my WIP everyone becomes more unique and assertive. Feedback–thanks everyone–has helped make each character their own person.

What about you? Any tricks to characterization you’d like to share?

Update: still nothing from Nelson PD. I plan to phone and see what I can glean from the assistant that passed on my request. Feeling all shy again. *sigh*

Write With Fey by Chrys Fey

NEW RELEASE & GIVEAWAY!
Catch the
sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!
Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
•        Spark One: Being a Writer
•        Spark Two: Story Essentials
•        Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
•        Spark Four: How To
•        Spark Five: Character ER
•        Spark Six: Editing
•        Spark Seven: Publishing
•        Spark Eight: Marketing
•        Spark Nine: Writing About
•        Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
With so much information, you’ll take
notes, highlight, and flag pages to come back to again and again on your
writing journey.

Purchase LINKS:

About Chrys

 
 Chrys Fey is the
author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance,
crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group
and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur
Press.
Fey realized she wanted to write by
watching her mother pursue publication. At the age of twelve, she started her
first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Fey
lives in Florida and is always on the lookout for hurricanes.
 
Chrys Fey’s Links:

GIVEAWAY!

Open to
all from June 4th 2018 – July 6th 2018
Click here to enter or
use the form below.

Rafflecopter giveaway link

IWSG 49: Using Word Association For Naming A Book

This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.

~~~oOo~~~

 

Co-Hosts:

Beverly Stowe McClure | Tyrean Martinson

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

IWSG Question: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I have fun with choosing names for both.

Here’s what I do for book titles.

I go in thinking it is a working title and try not stress about it. Let’s face it if my publisher or agent suggested something better I’ll take it. I’m a writer not a marketer. I’m sure that’s obvious.

I use word association just like a therapist. I choose words that capture the essence of the overall project. Sometimes I’m thinking mystery which often leads to murder, suspects, sleuths, motive, unfinished business, and in one occasion ghosts.

And White Light was born. I chose it because many claim to see a white light when they are brought back from death. And the idea of a white room where a spirit was trapped seemed to grow out of that tiny idea.

With one of my dragon stories I played on the words  cat’s eye, moon, and a mother leaving her child too soon.

Dragon Eye  was based on a different kind of guardian angel.

And with my latest WIP Symbiotic Slip, I wanted my title to hint at two planets relying on each other’s resources and being knocked out of sync.  ‘Nough said there I think. 😉

Characters…

My process for picking character’s names is very simple. I use the name generator I found in Scrivener. But there are tons of generators out there…. Google it and you’ll see what I mean.

What did you do to title your latest WIP? Any hints for us?