Finishing Lily’s Story

It’s hard to believe it has been so long since I’ve posted anything in here. Life has been crazy busy and I need to devote more time to my writing and myself. This new job I started back in October is extremely demanding and I am usually mentally drained by the time the weekend comes, but I really want to get this final book in my series finished. Lily’s story needs to be wrapped up, you all have waited long enough. 

Some of you will love how the story goes in this last book and some will hate it. I hope in the end, you will all love how her story ends. Let’s just say, what you expect to be isn’t necessarily going to be.

My really hope to have this book finished out by the end of April, I have probably 3 chapters left to write. After it is finished, I have plans for a new character, a new story, and all will be told in just one novel for her. It will not be anything like Lily’s story, but I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

For now, I leave you with that because the final chapters are not going to get finished unless I’m writing them. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy spring!

Turmoil and Writers Block

It has been a couple weeks I think since my last post. I have been struggling with my writing due to some personal things taking up brain space. Any other writers have this problem? Sometimes the problems or stresses of life can really mess with your mojo when it comes to pen and paper.

As a writer, I have a responsibility to my readers to not let this become a habit, so I decided I would take a deep breath, clear my mind, and focus today on making something happen, both here on my blog and in my third book. I wanted to update you on my progress. Right now I am starting chapter six and I think that will be about half way through. I need to get another chapter down if I want to get this last book of my trilogy written and published before the New Year. It is so much more in-depth than the first two, and as challenging as it is to write, I am really enjoying the way it is unfolding. I really think you will too. I can’t wait to get it out there so everyone can enjoy the three books together and get the end of Lily’s story.

This last book has twists and turns no one would see happening, I didn’t even know this was the direction I would go when I started the series. Isn’t it funny how our characters and story line can take on their own form? I love that about writing, you never know where you may end up going with something until you start.

I will do my very best to keep you up to date on my books and any new information I come across that may be of interest to my readers or fellow writers. I hope you all have a great week and if you haven’t picked up my first two books, please check them out on Amazon. The links for both books are on the left side of my page.

Thank you!!

Update on Book Three

Good morning and happy Friday! I hope you are doing well today. We have sunshine and blue skies with perfect temps at the moment. We are still tracking Irma as it could have an impact on us or it could miss us completely, just depends on how she goes. Fingers crossed she continues to weaken and there’s minimal damage for those in her path.

I am starting chapter four of my final book in my Crimes in the Bayou series. I have decided to make this a trilogy instead of four books as I had originally planned. Trilogies seem to be very popular and with them being shorter books, it will be easy for people to read one or all three fairly quick. I also made some changes that made a trilogy a better choice for this series.

I love that I am adding some new story line to this final book, giving my readers a little dialog from both the criminal side as well as the investigation. I kept the first two more from my main character, Lily’s point of view. I wanted to add more to this final book.

Since this is my first series, I am still learning my style and will continue to change and evolve in my writing. I really enjoy what I am doing and I really hope that my readers continue to enjoy it as well.

You can pick up the first two books on Amazon and the third will be available as soon as I am finished. Thank you for all your support and have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Motivation

I have to say, this week has been a difficult one for me. I sat down Wednesday to start the third book in my series and got my first chapter with a little over 2,000 words down, that is far less than I normally achieve in a day. I took yesterday off as I had other priorities with my husband home working locally we had a few things that needed to be taken care of. Today I sat down to write and maybe got 1,500 words down. I just don’t feel motivated. Do any of my fellow writers relate to this? Some days flow easily and it’s hard to stop for the day, other days it’s a struggle to get any words on the paper.

I have the book planned out in my head, I’ve done the research, and even had a few pages of notes before I ever started typing. I should be able to put so much more down in a day, but I am just struggling with the words and the flow of the story. I find that when I take a day or two off from writing, it’s harder to get back in the swing of things. Anyone else have this issue? What steals your motivation? What do you find helps?

I would love to know what you all struggle with when you write and what works best for you. Do you work towards a certain number of words per day or what do you make your goal for the day? I don’t usually look at words necessarily, I usually try to write about two chapters a day, this week I have only managed one and half. Do you have a quiet place you can get away to write? Or do you like some noise? Music maybe? I have an office set up and my writing area faces the window which usually helps me think, but I can hear the TV and phone calls in the rest of the house, which I think definitely distracts me. I like it completely quiet when I write and it just hasn’t been this week. What kind of atmosphere do you work best in?

I am hoping my motivation returns tomorrow and I am able to get a few chapters in over the next couple of days. I truly hope you all have a productive and enjoyable weekend and I look forward to seeing your comments!

Secrets On Bourbon Street – Sneak Peek

Secrets on Bourbon Street cover for paperback-frontGet your copy on Amazon Kindle here!

My alarm goes off, I jump in the shower and throw my robe on. I need a cup of coffee for sure this morning. I tossed and turned until about midnight. Not good. I picked out a black pant suite with a white sleeveless blouse and low healed black wedges. I know I will probably be on my feet a lot today and I want dressy but comfortable shoes on. I think I have everything I need. I’m about a 30-minute drive to the field office if traffic is normal.

I get to the office and check in; Special Agent Barry Fields meets me in the lobby of the building and escorts me up to his office. “Good morning, I’m Special Agent Barry Fields, I’m the guy you report to.”

We get to Barry’s office and Corbin is there waiting. “You remember Special Agent Corbin Dubois from your last case in Dax, he will be your new partner. Today he will be showing you around, you have some paperwork and some other details to go through this morning, but later this afternoon, we will be bringing you up to speed on the newest case you have been assigned. Any questions Special Agent Martin?”

“No, I don’t believe I do, thank you Special Agent Fields.”

“Great, and you can call me Barry. We prefer first names around here, no need to be formal unless the situation requires it.

“Corbin, start by giving her a tour of the place, explain how things are done around here and then show her to her office. Everything you need for this morning is on your desk. And welcome to the FBI Lily.”

“Thank you.” I reply as Corbin motions me to follow him.

“Well, what do you think so far Lily?” Corbin asks as we continue our tour. The building is a few stories high, rather large. It’s a good thing we aren’t touring the entire building, just the areas I will need to know. To tour the entire building would take all day.

“I think it will take a bit to remember where everything is, I have to admit, I was really nervous driving in this morning, but I am feeling a bit more relaxed now that I’m here.”

“Good, I know you will be an excellent agent, you finished the top of your class at Quantico so the sky’s the limit for you Lily. I’m sure some wondered why you didn’t choose one of the East Coast Field Offices. You could have gone to any of the top offices, but you still came here, I’m glad you didn’t change your mind.”

“Well, honestly, it had a lot to do with Dad being the closest to this office. That was the biggest factor, but yes, I felt I had an obligation to New Orleans, and you. I had given up any ideas I had about joining the FBI until you showed up in Dax to help with that case, so I feel I owe you.”

“I’m glad you’re here, you’re a great addition. So now that we are done with the tour, this is your office. Mine is right next door. If you have any questions my office line is already programmed into your phone as is Barry’s, but you can always pop by if you need anything. I will leave you to it. After lunch, we will meet back at Barry’s office. Meet me in my office at noon and we can go to the cafeteria together.”

“Ok, great, thank you Corbin. I better get started on this paperwork and getting settled in a bit.”

***

I knock on Corbin’s office door, he motions me in, he’s just hanging up the phone. “You ready for lunch?”

“I am, did you get everything finished?”

“I did. Now I’m starving. Tell me they have good food down there.”

“They do, I think today is soup and sandwich with a drink for $5. Pretty good deal if you ask me.”

“That is considering what drive-thru is anymore.” We get to the cafeteria and there are so many people, it’s almost overwhelming. “Does everyone take their lunch at the same time around here?”

“No, this is the busiest time though, they are open for breakfast at 7am and stay open for lunch until 2:30. People come and go throughout those hours. There is coffee and drinks over there, the coffee, tea, and water are available all day and free of charge. They charge for soft drinks so those are locked after 2:30. You have your different counters with different food options and some pre-packaged items for people in a hurry in that cooler there. I will meet you at the end of the counter over there and we can find a seat.”

“Ok that works, which way to the soup and sandwich?” I walk to the end of the line and Corbin heads to another counter.

We meet up after we get our trays and head to a table near a window.

“We will head over to Barry’s office after lunch. I know he is eager to catch you up to speed on this case we have been working on.”

“Great, I am ready to get back to working real cases again. I learned so much at Quantico and I am ready to use what I learned in the field.” I really have missed real detective work.

“Speaking of Quantico, what did you do on your two weeks after graduation?”

“I spent a week in New York with my boyfriend, James, flew into New Orleans to find an apartment and then drove home to spend time with my dad and pack the rest of my stuff. My apartment wasn’t available until Friday so I spent all day Friday and Saturday unpacking and getting settled. Saturday night a bunch of us met up for a night out since I have no idea when I will get another one.”

“Sounds like a busy but fun couple of weeks. A new boyfriend huh? Was he at Quantico?”

“Yea, he was in the same class, he is in D.C. which makes things a little more difficult, but I think he’s planning to come down on Friday.”

“My experience with long distance relationships is they are difficult, especially when we work in our line of work, but I hope the best for you. Do you like your new place?”

“I love it. I have open ceilings and hard wood floors. I got a top floor unit with an amazing view off the balcony. And it’s a straight shot to work.”

“Sounds great, my place does have hard wood floors, but no great view. I live downtown in an older loft apartment. I’m not home much so it’s alright. Plus, I did get a great deal on the rent when I moved in a couple years ago and so far, they haven’t raised it on me. That’s a plus. You ready to go?” Corbin pushes his chair out and we both take our trays to the garbage container, stack our trays and head to Barry’s office.

Writing Crime Fiction and the FBI

My first book came to me pretty easily, being a Forensic Science major in College, I knew writing crime fiction was never a question for me. Deciding on the crimes to write about, that took a little thinking. I have decided this series is going to focus on real life crime that is being fought not only in this country, but around the world.

Even though my books are fiction, there are some facts thrown in as well. I may use real places or make them up, I tend to use as close to fact as possible on the procedures being used to solve the crime, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the case. I also try to stay realistic in the crimes themselves. I research a lot online, but I also have a husband that supports me completely and helps me with ideas. He travels a lot and that helps provide ideas and facts for my projects. He is also my editor and is great at finding consistency and flow in the story. Yes, I’m pretty lucky to have him.

My first book was a very short novel, it flowed easily. I didn’t put near the little details in it that I am with the second one. We always learn as we go and I decided even though I am happy with my first publication, it could have been better. I definitely want to give more to my readers in my future books, more characters, more twists, more everything.

The first book was a cartel case, the interesting thing about it is, I had it half way done when my husband had to go to Mexico for business. When he came back, he had so much more helpful information for me to make my story more believable. This definitely improved my book, but it did make for more work. I had to go back through the entire book and make some major changes. Don’t get me wrong, what I had worked, but why make something just work when you can make it so much better? So, it was worth the extra time and effort to deliver a better story.

The book I’m working on now is an FBI investigation with a case involving Human Trafficking. This is an ongoing and growing issue for everyone. Children and young adults disappear daily and much of it could be prevented if awareness is brought to the public. If you’re on Facebook or any social media site, you will see posts and articles on a regular basis regarding this very subject. I add little things in my book regarding how they were taken or lured away, those are facts, they happen. The sad fact is,  only 2% of the victims are ever recovered that disappear. That is a very low percentage and sadly I think they mean just that, recovered, I believe most are not found safe.

I love that the FBI has a lot of information online that help writers and producers with their stories and they will even sit down with people if they want the extra help. I also love that they have no opinion on how true to life or completely out there someone makes their story when writing about FBI cases, but they will openly help someone if they want it more true to life.

One misconception about the FBI that a lot of people have is that they do not take over local cases or push local law enforcement out of the case. The exact opposite is true. The FBI works with many levels of law enforcement on state and local levels to solve cases. They assist and work side by side with other law enforcement agencies all the time. Their goal is to solve the case and that requires team work from all levels.

I really enjoy writing and I hope that my readers do as well. My second book will be published soon and then it’s on to the third. I am looking at a four-five book series at this time, but you never know what might change or what will come after.

 

Explaining Kindle Unlimited

This post is directed to Kindle readers, specifically Kindle Unlimited subscribers. For those who don’t know what Kindle Unlimited is, it is a subscription plan available to any Kindle reader. It will cost the reader $9.99/month to subscribe, but if you are one that reads a lot of books in a month, this can be cost effective for you. For anyone reading less than 10 books a month, I can’t really see the benefit of it given there are so many Kindle books available for less than $3/each. You have to do the math for yourself, but for me, if I’m only going to read 3-5 books for the month at say $2/each (I buy a lot of $.99 books so I round up for this), I am going to pay at most $10 and get to keep all 5 books. At $.99 I can buy 10 books that I don’t need to return to the library.

The misconception to the readers is how it effects the authors of the books available on Kindle Unlimited. You see, these books are ‘checked out’ of the Kindle library by the reader and Kindle tracks how many pages are read by the reader. The author does not receive any income from these books ‘checked out’ until that book is returned to the library. The author is paid only for the pages read when the book is returned. The amount per page is figured by Amazon and isn’t paid out until the following month either, so the author must also wait longer to receive those payments.

An example of what an author would have made in March of 2017 for a 200-page book would be $.94, this is ½ of what the author would have made at the very least on Kindle if the book was purchased. I come to this conclusion because the author more than likely would have listed the book for no less than $2.99 which they would make $2.00 per book purchased through Kindle. You see why the authors are not thrilled about this plan?  Had they listed the book for $5 they would make $3.50. There is a big difference between $.94 and $3.50.

Authors with books that were finished and returned to the library before March 31st would have been paid $.0047 per page read. If the reader only finished 50 pages, the author only gets paid for 50 pages. To me that feels like someone going into work and working 8 hours, giving their all to the job and walking away with 4 hours of work paid. We all know the author put time, effort, and research into writing that book for the reader to enjoy, they deserve the appropriate royalties from it not getting screwed out of every dime while Amazon rakes in $9.99/subscriber a month so those subscribers can ‘check out’ the authors book and never return it or return it unread. In my opinion, Amazon is the only winner here.

My advice to subscribers of Kindle Unlimited, if you download a book, please read it completely and return it quickly. By holding onto that book, you are hurting the author of that book and for most of the books in the Kindle Unlimited, they are new and upcoming authors who rely on every penny to make it. If you cannot commit to that, don’t subscribe and don’t download, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by paying out a $9.99/month subscription for something you aren’t utilizing to the fullest and you are definitely not helping the author.

As a reader, I had no idea this is how the program worked. It wasn’t until I was on the other end and found myself not being paid royalties because people weren’t finishing my book or not returning it when they had. I canceled my subscription for the plan, I don’t have time to read 10 books a month to make it worth my payment, but I also didn’t want to risk holding onto a book and not reading it because I didn’t have time to commit and hurting another author. Now I just purchase the book and read it as I want. The author gets paid their royalties sooner and in full amount owed and I get to keep the book. In my opinion that’s a win/win.

You can find many other blog posts regarding this subject throughout Google. Several blogs go into details explaining how much Amazon has made and how much they have paid out over the past few years. If you would like a good start, visit http://rogerpacker.com/kindle-unlimited-kenp-payment-rate-for-march-2017-falls-by-6/ This blog gives some really good statistics of the money being paid out to authors since January 2016.

Oh, if you read a book and you like it, please go leave feedback for that book. It really does make a difference for the author and helps them in the ranking of where their book falls on Amazon.