Midnight in Malamulele Book Giveaway

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Due to favorable reviews and requests for my book, Midnight in Malamulele, I’ve decided to gift my book to those of you who may not have heard of it yet.

Midnight in Malamulele is a mystery/thriller set in Africa with a touch of romance. Annabelle Chase, an American crime reporter, arrives for her volunteer gig only to discover a murdered nun in the locked down convent and her best friend Sister Bridget is arrested. Detective Baloyi asks Annabelle to join in the search, throwing them into a world of machete-wielding muti killers.

Smashwords Book Giveaway

1) Sign up for Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/signup
2) Click BUY on the “Midnight in Malamulele” page https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/479684
3) During checkout enter the code GJ26Y and click apply
4) Download the book in any format you want
5) Review the book! https://www.smashwords.com/books/writeReview/479684

To Portland, With Love

Before I left beautiful Portland, my friend Julie Adams from grad school (Columbia Graduate School of Journalism 2000)  insisted I take a drive with her and see what we could in a very short tour.  Immediately, she stopped at Powell’s bookstore in the Pearl District. A four-story, city block building displayed books in almost any category. Miles of books.

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This picture of Powell’s is from the bookstore website.

As we drove around the Pearl District, we passed the Portland Art Museum where there is an Italian Style exhibition. Larger than life murals appeared on the outside walls, instantly beckoning walkers and drivers to stop and come inside. Stunning photos on the exterior of the building. Be patient with the quality of the photos. I had drizzling weather to contend with!

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On the drive we viewed beautiful cherry trees full of blossoms. Even though it was nearly dark, the trees were exquisite.

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We drove by one corner, a gathering place for food carts.  Portland is known for the food cart concessions. Here’s a sample.

FullSizeRender-5Apparently it’s a Portland thing, this obsession with food carts. They’re everywhere!

In the later afternoon, rain falling slightly, a fog settled over the city. Beautiful. And the lovely meal at the top of Portland in the Chart House helped me bid farewell to my visit there, as if it were tied with a giant red bow. Julie and her 94-year-old father proved to be a good Portland public relations team!

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At the airport, sighing and thinking what a wonderful time I had at the Left Coast Crime  2015 conference, I looked up to see the tallest free-standing cuckoo clock in North America! A surprise and a delight. Thanks Portland!

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Left Coast Crime 2015 Kicks Off Today

Technically the conference in Portland, Oregon kicks off today, but yesterday a group of us early birds jumped the gun and showed up for a workshop featuring April Henry in the morning and Robert Dugoni in the afternoon. (Notice the cliches!)

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 April Henry

“The Night She Disappeared”

What I loved most about April’s  presentation, and the fact she’d recently tested for her purple belt for Kung Fu, were the tidbits she sprinkled throughout her crime fiction presentation.

Websites to visit, books to consider.

Bubbl.us for mindmapping

Query Shark.com

TVtropes.com

Myersbriggs.org

Books to assist in dreaming up plots:

“The Amazing Story Generators” by Jay Sacher from Chronicle Books, San Francisco. A fun way to spur brainstorming.

“Novel Metamorphosis” by Darcy Pattison.

Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots by William Wallace Cook

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Robert Dugoni

“My Sister’s Grave”

Dugoni gave us many jewels regarding creating fictional characters.

Posing provocative questions for writers, he asked: “Why does a character need to change?” It maintains interest and people change in real life.

“Are the stakes high enough?” What’s standing in the way of your protagonist getting what she needs? Something for writers to consider.

Dugoni said life experiences are the richest and mentioned people-watching at public places like airports.

Keeping your characters moving is important.

Your protagonist is just a little bit better than everybody else and the reader begins to root for you.

Dugoni referenced movies as he explained creating characters. In “Blood Diamond” a guy races across Africa to save his son. “I’d like to be heroic – would I do what that man does?” Readers relate.

Explore the inner demons and conflicts of your characters.

Character strengths can be a weakness and vice versa.

Help readers to stand in the shoes of your characters.

Give your character self-regard. If your character doesn’t care, you won’t care.

Dugoni said that the expression “Show, don’t tell” is a bunch of crap, that you have to show, but you also have to tell. For instance, expressions tell everything about a character. Such as “Why are you jewing me down?” Tells everything.

Good way to check on character description: Could your reader pick your character out of a line up?

 

 

Gearing Up for Left Coast Crime 2015

Left Coast Crime 2015, a writing conference in Portland, Oregon is touted as being one of the very best for those of us who love to write fiction with a touch of crime. I’ll keep you posted next week as I check it out beginning March 10 – 15.

Of course, any of you who know me know that I always show up early.

A quick sidebar. My father Lloyd Prudom always gave himself a 30 minute window so if he had a flat tire, he’d be okay and could still arrive on time. Showing up early is awesome for most people, with the exception of possibly my five children. To me, showing up early illustrates you are interested and you prepared to come early. But, mainly I’m arriving early for the conference because I’ve paid extra for a full day workshop before the conference starts. Why? You never know where you will learn that one nugget that will help you improve.

 If it’s between yes and no, say YES!

It is my belief that a writing conference is an education.

If you’ve a writer at any level, you can always learn more about the ins and outs of publishing. Also, you can learn to write better, become more colorful using interesting images in your work, more metaphors or similes.

Meeting people is the most fun of all. You can become inspired and even more enthused about what you do. The highlight is you’ll be amazed at how helpful you can be to others by inspiring them. It’s a give and take situation. I especially love that.

Learning how to meet people is a plus. Most of you have that ability already. And if you need practice, a conference is the best place I know of to meet other writers.

How to talk about your book is important. Writers are taught to have a :30 spiel, often called the elevator speech, about our most recent work. Of course, that elevator speech comes from various accounts of writers actually snaring an agent while riding on the elevator. And it has happened!

It’s easy to talk about your own book, right? Not always. I’ve found through experience that I am often at a loss because I didn’t organize my thoughts or practice. I will be going to the New Author’s Breakfast where I will have a full minute (sounds like a snap, right?) and I am working on coming up with a spiel that will get my book out there among my peers. A lot of people know about MIDNIGHT IN MALAMULELE, but talking about it is something I have to be ready to do at a moment’s notice. All you have to do is work at it – prepare and practice.

If you get a chance to attend a conference, I say go! And watch this blog next week for updates.