Techno Thrillers: My suggestions

I once described myself as a book slut – I read a bit of everything from horror (Stephen King is the master) to romantic comedy (love Tawna Fenske’s books). I’ve been reading a lot about technothrillers here lately, so I thought I’d share my own suggestions for the genre, in no particular order:

As you can tell by my list, once I find an author I like, I tend to keep reading them. But this list also shows that I need to find new authors! Give me some ideas. What are some of your favorite technothrillers?

Technothrillers: What are they?

As I was perusing Amazon, looking at the various best seller lists, I came across a category called “technothriller” – and a lightbulb went off. That’s the kind of book I gravitate to! Think Jurassic Park, the Hunt for Red October, the Judas Strain, Relic . . . these are books that I absolutely love. So, what is a technothriller? Simple. It’s a book that draws from different genres, usually mystery, thriller and sci fi.

Fatal ObsessionSo, if you like these books, too, check out this list from Goodreads of the best technothrillers. And share some of yours in the comments – I need new authors to read! Oh, and if you like that sort of thing, too, check out my latest release, Fatal Obsession. It delves into the cutting edge world of nanotechnology, and dips into the ethical questions medical research raises.

Spring Break!

Woman on the beach at Gulf Shores

I saw a post on Facebook Friday from a friend who was hours away from her spring break starting. Ohhhhhh, I am so ready for spring! How ’bout you? Though I really can’t complain – our winter has been practically non-existent. Just a few minutes ago, I walked the dogs without a coat on. Just clipped their leashes on and walked out the door. In March! In Missouri!

But still . . . there’s something magical about Spring Break. As a broke college kid, I never did anything for spring break. And I always felt a bit cheated about that. Maybe that’s why I find myself jealously reading spring break posts on Facebook, then browsing the internet looking for travel deals. As a matter of fact, we just booked a trip to the beach in May. My idea of a perfect beachy vacation would be lounging beside the pool or in the sand, listening to the cry of sea gulls while losing myself in a good book (have you gotten your copy of Fatal Obsession yet?). Oh, with a sweet icy concoction in a thermal mug sitting on the table next to me. The salty smell of the ocean and the coconut fragrance from my sunscreen would tickle my nose. And I’d be wearing a big floppy hat.

Ahhhh . . . I’m ready for that trip. How ’bout you? Tell me your idea of a perfect spring break day.

Do you want to write a book?

The vast majority of people want to write a book, but never get it done. Do you want to? If your answer is yes, what are you waiting for? Waiting for inspiration to strike? Don’t know what to write about? If that’s the case, sign up for my mailing list and you will get a copy of my Novel Idea Generator . . . PLUS, I will select three people from the list to get a hard copy of the workbook sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Get your free workbook!

* indicates required



What makes you pick up a Thriler?

The cover is probably the first thing (by the way – I think my cover designer did a great job with Fatal Obsession – awesomely creepy!), but then you read the book description and decide whether or not to read. I can write the book, but I agonize over the description. You have to fit so much in very few words.

Take a look at these descriptions from books that are on Amazon’s thriller bestseller list now:

The Night Bird by Brian Freeman:

Homicide detective Frost Easton doesn’t like coincidences. When a series of bizarre deaths rock San Francisco—as seemingly random women suffer violent psychotic breaks—Frost looks for a connection that leads him to psychiatrist Francesca Stein. Frankie’s controversial therapy helps people erase their most terrifying memories…and all the victims were her patients.

As Frost and Frankie carry out their own investigations, the case becomes increasingly personal—and dangerous. Long-submerged secrets surface as someone called the Night Bird taunts the pair with cryptic messages pertaining to the deaths. Soon Frankie is forced to confront strange gaps in her own memory, and Frost faces a killer who knows the detective’s worst fears.

As the body count rises and the Night Bird circles ever closer, a dedicated cop and a brilliant doctor race to solve the puzzle before a cunning killer claims another victim.

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni

A #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller.

When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. Once again, New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni delivers a taut, riveting thriller in the fourth installment of his acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series.

Both of these sound good – but what is it about that description that draws you in? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s HERE!!! Fatal Obsession

I am so excited to announce that Fatal Obsession, my new thriller, will be released on February 25, 2017!

As you probably know, Fatal Obsession is a Widow’s Web novel – an exciting series where women face challenges that threaten to destroy them, just as they begin to find the strengths within them.

Sophie grew up in the foster care system, an orphan separated from her brother after their parents are killed. After she married Blake Kendrick and gets pregnant, she’s thrilled that she’s finally part of a real family. When she learns that her husband, a brilliant cancer researcher, has experimented on their unborn child, her world shatters. The powerful man her husband works for is determined to get that child, to use the research within Sophie’s body to save his dying mother. Sophie is forced to go on the run, terrified of what might be growing within her, worried that her baby might need treatment by the very man who is hunting them. The survival skills she learned in foster care serve her well as she must discriminate between who she can trust and who she can’t, who is a real friend and who is a threat. All the while, an experiment grows within her . . . will they escape?

Fatal Obsession will be released in paperback on February 25, 2017. The ebook is available now – get your copy today! (and gain my undying gratitude.)

To celebrate the release, I’m giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winners choice). Enter here (note – you can enter every day!):   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Save

Dark Side of Morning by Tierney James

Several years ago, I went to dinner with a group of aspiring authors at a writers convention. To our surprise, and the amusement of the others sharing our table, Tierney James and I ended up discussing scrapbooking and sniper rifles. We’ve been friends ever since, and I am excited she was able to take a little time to answer some questions for me to celebrate the release of her newest book, Dark Side of Morning.

This book includes a strong element of Native Americans. How did you get interested in Native American culture, and how did your experiences influence your writing of this book?
I did my student teaching on the Qualla Reservation in the Great Smokey Mountains among the Cherokee people. Years before my parents had taken me there on vacation. I told them I would return to live there. And I did. It changed my life. They experience life, nature and spiritual awakening on a higher plain. My soul rejoiced among these wonderful people. In my Enigma Series the hero is half Cherokee. His mother has the same name as my house parents on the reservation. The years have passed but my love of the culture has grown by leaps and bounds.

This book has sci fi elements in it. What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve visited the Field Museum in Chicago many times. And of course the North American Indian section is the first place I go when there. I looked into the mannequin eyes of my main character over the years and wondered if he could see and hear me. Some say it’s creepy. I say it is full of possibilities. Parallel universes started to interest me when I read Louie L’Amour’s book Haunted Mesa. He died shortly after it was published and I had a lot of questions.

Tell me about the protagonist in this book.
Dr. Cleopatra Sommers never came to terms with her father’s disappearance at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. He had been a Native American scholar that explored avenues of unexplained spiritual paths in their cultures. The museum had been her home and playground growing up where her father spent long hours working. She was always drawn to one display case holding a mannequin of a Pawnee Indian. There was no way she could know he watched her all those years until the night he crossed over to find her.

If this book were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Robert Silent-Thunder for Wind Dancer
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World) for Cleopatra Sommers
Detective Jacque Marquette I’m thinking Bradley Cooper

Your previous books are true thrillers, with terrorists and pulse-pounding action. Does this book contain any of those elements?
Yes it has those elements but on a spookier level. I talk about skinwalkers which is like a witch that the Navajo have in their culture. Those are super scary things. Then there is the possibility of biological agents that could wipe out the United States.

I completely enjoyed the Enigma series. Do you anticipate ever returning to that cast of characters?
I’m actually working on #4 right now! Think diamonds, Africa and Tessa’s son hacking the wrong kind of people.

Tierney, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and share some insight into your new book. Folks, take a moment to pop over to Amazon and check out Dark Side of Morning (and tell all your friends!).

How to Edit a Draft (novel)

Writing a novel is HARD. That’s all there is to it. When you write the draft, it is exciting and fun (well, except for that mucky middle) and I always celebrate when I write those two magical words . . . the end.

After you let that manuscript rest for a bit (personally, I think you need to leave it for at least a few weeks). So, once you’re ready to edit, how do you actually do that?

I edit in a couple of rounds. Here’s my process:

ROUND ONE: Rough Edit. Go back to the beginning and read through your manuscript from start to finish, looking for echos, plot holes, passive voice, missing bits and pieces. This is what I consider the fleshing out of the novel I drafted very quickly (usually in 30 days or less), where I add layers and things like weather and setting. I also think about characters’ growth and plot arcs at this time. This is the version that I send to my critique group for feedback.

ROUND TWO: Read the full manuscript with a notebook beside you. Note any questions a reader would have as you go. Note any issues that you notice, again, looking for echos, plot holes, passive voice. Look for continuity issues. Make sure your timeline is correct. (Note: after I finish this round, I will send the manuscript to a handful of beta readers.)

ROUND THREE: Gather your notebook and your critique partners’ notes, along with any comments from your beta readers. Make all necessary revisions to your manuscript. (Note: after I finish this round, I send out the Advance Review Copies to reviewers.)

ROUND FOUR: Proofread and polish the entire manuscript, from start to finish. This is a word by word, line by line proof.

If you want to know in more detail how to edit a manuscript, make sure you sign up for my WriteScouts list below:

Become a WriteScout (and get a free Novel Idea Generator)!

* indicates required




2016: My year in review – and How to Review Your Year

For the past month, there have been year in review posts everywhere, but you have taken time to review YOUR year?

I’ve spent the last four days doing an in-depth review of 2016, and I encourage you to do the same. Life is about so much more than work or likes and follows and pins and money and stuff. Evaluate what you’ve done, and identify what you want to achieve. Without goals, you’ll plod along through life, stuck in a rut . . . and you’ll never even notice.

Think of your life like a house, built on a foundation. The foundation is made up of several things that work together, like joists and concrete and steel. In order for your house to be solid, the foundation needs to be strong throughout. Imagine if you had concrete and steel, but no joists spanning the width of your home – it would sag in the middle. All of these things are important, and all need to be reviewed.

Pull out your day planner (or whatever you use to keep track of your calendar) (psst . . . I use the Me and my Big Ideas Happy Planner and I looooove it!) and look at the following:

Family: What are your most memorable moments with family over the past year?

{2016 was a big year for my family. My husband survived a major heart attack in February. My daughter celebrated her 21st birthday in June. My stepdaughter gave birth to a little girl in November – making us grandparents for the first time!}

Financial: How did work go for you over the past year? How is your debt load? Investments?

{2016 was a big year for me money-wise, too. My day job is great – I love the work I do, and I have great co-workers, but there were no raises this year. Luckily, my writing has finally started to pay off, and I was able to pay off 2 credit cards with my writing profits. I also increased my retirement savings by 1% this year.}

Spiritual: We all need spirituality in our lives, whether that is organized religion or simply how you connect with the larger world. Are you nurturing that part of you?

{I explored mindfulness after a particularly difficult 2013, and I have continued to meditate on a regular basis. There is much to learn from the Buddhist philosophy.}

Mental: I think we better ourselves when we continue to learn and stretch our brains. What did you learn in 2016?

{In 2016, I read more than I have in many, many years (using Goodreads to keep track of my challenge – join me!). I read fiction and non-fiction, ebooks, print books and audio books. I also enrolled in a membership group which allowed me to take several online classes.}

Next time, I’ll share how I planned for ’17 and give you tips to make the most out of your year.