Thursday, February 28, 2013

EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK by Rita Karnopp


I think back to when I was a novice writer . . . and how intimidating it was to not know what I should or should not write about.  Oh, I don’t mean a plot or subject matter.  You know . . . those clich├ęs and language tags.  I was told every character needed a tag, like Scarlet had Fiddle de Dee in Gone With the Wind.  When a tag is overdone, it’s even worse than never having had one.
The same theory coincides with putting every great idea or clever bit of information you’ve been saving for a book.  You know what I mean, don’t you?  That data bank of cool, clever and unusual historical facts or the stories Great Grandma and Grandpa told you parents, and you thought, hmmm . . . I should put that in a book.
Agents and editors have a sixth sense when it comes to what has become known as the kitchen-sink novel.
I read a book where heroine, who was a history professor, loved sharing historical tid-bits every chance she got.  I think I got ten history lessons by the time I finished the book. This information overload will kill a story.  It’s my guess the author loves history and sharing it . . . just don’t do it all in one book. 
Another way the kitchen-sink attitude affects a book is if every character has something ‘unusual’ or ‘special’ to share.  For instance, the heroine shares her expertise on how crystals are formed, the hero shares his infinite knowledge on the Lewis and Clark travels, and then the villain comes along with a plethora of information on the constellation and how it controls his actions.  A reader just can’t get to the plot of the story with so much information.
Maybe you create a character that wears a nineteen-twenties detective hat  that has a great history, and you mention it several times because to you it’s a great item.  Well, if your character is not a detective, why the hat?  Don’t throw these red-herrings into your story unless they hold some meaning and further the story. The item maybe colorful and quaint, but if it has no bearing on the story, it shouldn’t be in it.  Always ask yourself if it serves a purpose other than you like it and it has a history.
Another kind of kitchen-sink novel is the one word rule.  Don’t make a tag so dominate that the reader starts cringing every time it’s mentioned.  A detective in another book always said ‘bloody’ for a tag.  ‘Bloody good,’ bloody hell,’ ‘bloody straight,’ etc.  I never finished the book. 
Using a kitchen-sink scene suggests the author’s immaturity, and will be noted by agents and editors and unfortunately your readers.
I suggest you put your best material in a book, but leave the kitchen sink in the kitchen.  We are all tempted to put these ‘gems’ into our stories, we love them so why won’t our reader, but use restraint.  Better yet, put them in when you first write the story, and remove them when you revise.  You’ll get it out of your system and you’ll realize during the revision – it’s best left out of the book.
Oh, do make sure to put interesting facts in your book, just make sure it serves a purpose, furthers the story, or is ‘key’ to solving the plot.  We all love to be surprised by that crucial piece of information we missed, and weren’t hit over the head with.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CLAIMING MARIAH BY PAM HILLMAN

A while back I was approached about being part of Pam Hillman's book tour to launch her new release.  I'm a fan of Tyndale Publishing and their authors, so I immediately agreed.  So today, I proudly present Pam Hillman.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines


I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “make hay while the sun shines.” A simple saying, really, meaning to get your work done while it’s daylight, before time runs out, or while things are going good. But, literally, there’s more to it than that. I grew up hearing this saying. I’ve lived it. So, let me explain how to make hay while the sun shines from a Mississippi farm girl’s perspective.

There is a short window of time when grass is ready to cut, and the weather plays a huge role in how long that window lasts. Btw, we never actually say we’re going to go cut the grass. We say we’re going to cut hay. Cutting grass is just mowing the yard. Just sayin’

So, my modern-day cowboy has to keep one eye on the hayfield and one on the weather. He uses weatherchannel.com to track one, two, three, five day forecasts. Sure, meteorologists miss the forecast on occasion, but having those reports is better than what my daddy and his daddy had to work with. Next, my cowboy goes to the local watering-hole and talks to the men there. They all have an opinion about how much rain to expect, when, and how long it might last. He takes their opinions to heart because some of those men have been baling hay for a long, long time.

Once he’s made up his mind to cut hay, he goes at it with a vengeance. He sharpens the blades on the hay mower, makes sure it’s greased up, fires up the John Deere and away he goes. He can cut hay day or night. Doesn’t matter if the dew has fallen or not. So, he might cut hay into the wee hours, or get up really early and start a field. He has been known to enlist one of our sons or a neighbor and run two mowers at once.

Once the hay is cut, the sun dries—or cures—it. This generally takes 36-48 hours, depending on how thick the hay is. About half-way through this process, it’s time to fluff the hay. When I was a teen, I rarely remember us fluffing hay unless it was extremely thick. Now, we almost always fluff it just to speed up the process. There is a special piece of equipment called a hay fluffer. Basically, the fluffer stirs the hay, turning it upside down, and letting the sun dry the hay that has been on the bottom.

There comes a point when the hay is just right for baling: not too green, and not to dry. And you hope it gets to this point without a storm rolling in while the hay is on the ground. If it rains between cutting and baling, you have to let the sun dry the hay, fluff it again, dry some more, then rake and bale. But there’s only so much of this fluffing/drying/raking cycle the hay can take before it looses most of its nutritious value.

The hay has been cut, it’s been fluffed, the sweet scent fills the air, and a storm’s a brewing! Yikes! But wait, you can’t just jump up at daylight and bale hay. Not in Mississippi. You have to wait until the sun burns the dew off the hay. So, we’re chomping at the bit waiting for mid-to-late morning, hoping to beat the rain.

Two tractors hit the field, one pulling a double-sided contraption that rakes the hay into windrows, the other pulling a big round hay baler. It can take half a day to bale a forty acre field, but it’s a wonderful feeling to finish up before that first big, fat raindrop falls!

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Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,
Claiming Mariah

Click cover to visit Amazon page.  Also available at B&N

To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)

PREVIOUS STOP ON TOUR:
February 26th: Laura Hilton

NEXT STOPS ON TOUR:
February 28th: Tina Pinson and Johnny Donley



DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR READERS by Rita Karnopp


     I firmly believe our readers are well educated and fairly affluent in today’s society. Then we shouldn’t be surprised that reading is at an all-time high and educated people tend to like books.  Let’s take it a step further and make note their incomes enable them to buy books.
     It’s sad to think that when I started writing I was told not to write above a fifth-grade level.  Say what?  I still think aspiring authors sometimes simplify their writing because they’re afraid of distancing a huge mass of prospective readers they envision they should be writing for. This is tragic because you cannot do it. And you don’t need to—the average reader is smarter than you may think.
     The point being, don’t underestimate your readers.  You should write the book you want to write and a reader will choose your book if it’s the type of book they like to read.  Period.  If they are the demographic you’re searching out – forget it.  You have to be the demographic they are looking for.  Writing down can be particularly catastrophic, because agents and editors as well as your readers will not relate to the book.
     First, use the vocabulary that your character would use. If catastrophic is the right word, don’t change it to terrible. And if witty is the right word, don’t change it to facetious just to show off.
     Second, always fight the urge to over explain.  This is something that is so simple, yet so easy to get in a habit of doing, especially when describing action sequences and characters’ thoughts.
     Sam pulled on the wet rope and after several attempts slid back down to the ground. After several attempts, he stomped his feet exasperated and exhausted.  He swallowed his pride and glanced up the high cliff and shouted, “I could use some help here.”
     You don’t need to ‘tell’ what is going through Sam’s mind; the reader can guess just fine.
     Agents and editors, and don’t forget the reader, will recognize an educated voice, and they will respond and respect it. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

ADD THE UNEXPECTED THRILL OF BEING BAD – by Rita Karnopp


     I recently read an article that stated, “Agents and editors can’t stand authors who put restraints on their work for the sake of delicacy.”  The article stated that during a workshop a participant spoke up and said: “I once had an art instructor say, ‘If it didn’t have to be pretty, what would you draw?’ ”
    That totally translates to: “If it didn’t have to be pretty, what would you write?”
     Keep in mind that not-pretty actually has two meanings here:
1) topics that are not attractive, like rape, racism or incest, and
2) the way you write.
     Let’s face it, most people steer away from dark subject matter, but as an author there are times you must be willing to visit there, recognize it for what it truly is, explore and evaluate it before you embody, represent, or share it in a story.
     Consider looking at it from a time when you were a child; before you had prejudices, before you really knew right from wrong, before you understood there was evil . . . that time of innocence. 
     Think back to a time when you were truly scared for the first time. For me it was around nine years old.  Our old house was the one next to the railroad tracks.  My two older sisters and I were following the tracks down and we came across a cardboard box.  We saw no one around and we couldn’t help ourselves . . . curiosity was at a peak.  We pulled out shirts and . . . you know I really don’t remember much else. What I do remember was the guy with long, flowing hair and who seemed huge come running toward us yelling; “What you kids doing with my box? Get out of here before I . . . “Heck, I don’t remember what else he said.  I would doubt my siblings did either.  Fear gripped me like a cold blast in a sub-zero blizzard! 
     I share this story because when I’m writing suspense . . . if my scene doesn’t reflect how terrified I felt that day . . . I rewrite it until it does.  You can borrow from your life experiences to give you the tone you want to have in your book.  Think about your first scary movie, or a time you jumped when say the head fell out of the boat in Jaws, or when someone hid behind a corner and jumped out and scared you so hard you nearly wet your pants.  Borrow from those times. 
     Even borrow from the times you weren’t exactly the ‘best kid on the block.’  Did you maybe go rubber tubing with your friends and drink homemade dandelion wine?  Did you sneak a ten dollar bill from one of your parent’s wallets or billfolds?  Did you lie about going to a friend’s house to study, only to meet a boyfriend  . . . to watch a movie at his house . . . or worse, have your first sexual experience?
     Feel the shameless thrill it gave you - to get away with something you knew you shouldn’t be doing.  Did you feel invincible?  Did you think nothing could happen to you?  Did you get a perverse kick out of knowing you were sneaking around . . . it gave you an adrenaline high?
     Go to this place of complete or partial abandon when you are writing your book.  Throw the care to the wind and add the unexpected thrill of being bad.  Once you’re book is done, make sure your hero or heroine aren’t too bad . . . but no one is perfect – a little bad is human.  A little bad is stimulating, exhilarating, thrilling, rousing, sensational, breathtaking, motivating . . . I think you get it.  A little bad is going to make your reader relate and snicker even.  Call up those demons and let it rip!  Don’t hold back!
      You may have to refine, adjust, or even tame the beast you released once the book is finished – but there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll feel exhilarated by the first draft . . . keep in mind, feisty characters are fun and interesting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

ENCHANTED COTTAGE BY SHIRLEY MARTIN



Enchanted Cottage

A fantasy romance by Shirley Martin, published by Books We Love.

An evil witch places a curse on Alana Cullain, turning the once beautiful woman into an ugly hag. Chased from her village, Alana seeks sanctuary in the dark forest. There she finds a strange cottage, one she had never seen before, and makes her home there.

Demoted and badly wounded in battle, mercenary soldier Colin Duffrey heads home to recover. Along the way, he discovers a cottage in the midst of a forest and finds refuge there. 

A woman, marred on the outside, and a man, afflicted on the inside, meet in an isolated cottage. There, they learn that they can help each other. And with a bit of magic, miracles can happen.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the money and a keeper for sure! January 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This was a very sweet, engrossing, fantasy romance that I read in about a day. A kind and beautiful woman is cursed by a jealous witch, causing a marring of her beauty and her shunning from her village. She retreats to the woods where she stumbles upon a cottage in a clearing that she knew did not exist prior to the day of her shunning. She accepts her fate and begins a solitary existence in the cottage, caring for a wounded soldier that also stumbles into the cottage. I liked how the heroine, Alana, was determined to stand on her own two feet and work with the changes that her life had undergone. The romance and love was glossed over for most of the book, its only detracting factor, but the interaction between the characters was intricate, believable, and well written. It was an enjoyable read and one I plan on rereading as the mood strikes.
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If you'd like to read more about the mythical kingdom of Avador, please check out these books:
"Night Secrets" A fantasy romance
"Night Shadows" A fantasy vampire romance

Thursday, February 21, 2013

BODY LANGUAGE GIVES TEXTURE AND DEPTH TO YOUR STORY - by Rita Karnopp

     Make your stories crackle with authority.  We are savvy enough to put sensations beyond sight and sound into our books . . . it’s the basic five senses, right!  The most gripping to me is the sense of smell.
     Let’s do a test.  Close your eyes … oh …. You’ll have to read this through and then try it!  Giggle.   Okay, again, close your eyes and imagine a lemon.  Imagine the clean, bright yellow lemon.  You grasp your knife and cut it in half.  Citrus scent fills the air as it squirts juicy liquid in every direction.  Bring the lemon to your mouth and take a large bit.  Did you shiver?  Did your mouth pucker? Did your tongue spasm from the mere thought? Did you smell it?  I’ll bet the answer to all those questions was a resounding YES, even though you were imagining it.
     Evoke these feelings, smells, tastes as you write. Whether it’s an onion, lemon, pine, or a pile of sh….!
     What are other ways to bring the senses alive?  Consider everything, for instance the weight of his jacket, or the blisters from his boot. How about the bitter blast of wind in his face or the cold, wet snow as it melted on his cheek?
     It’s always great to read about a character who allows you feel, smell, taste, hear, and see what he/she is experiencing.
     Not only do agents and editors love the five senses, but your readers do, too! Don’t forget the physical aspect of a story that deepens not just your setting, but also your characterizations.
     I’ve read that the key to this bit of story-telling is; the use of body language in your narrative. Strange as it may seem, we rarely talk about the use of body language when discussing the skills of writing.  I think that’s because it flows in the story and it’s almost unnoticed. When you think about it – body language gives texture and depth to your work. When it’s missing, a story falls flat.
     What exactly do we mean when we say to write with body language?  Two things are at the core; anxiety (or lack thereof) and hidden desires.  Analyze your characters internal constitution; upbringing, attitude, background, experience, highs and lows of life, and then understand and sense how they feel in any given situation.

Consider this:
Dylan leaned against a tree and exhaled warm air into the chilly night.
That doesn’t tell anything about the Dylan or his frame of mind. Make the action mean something and use the moment fully:
Dylan leaned heavy against the tree and scanned the dreary skyline. Nothing made sense since Lora died.
We learn something about what’s going on with Dylan here, without having to plow through an internal monologue from him or Lora.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CHARACTERS WITH FLAWS by Rita Karnopp


Admit it – we joke about being ‘normal.’  If we stopped to think about it, and be honest, we’re have to admit we behave rationally only part of the time; the rest of the time we take ridiculous risks and at times behave in ways we can’t explain.
So what could that comment possibly have to do with writing?  Our readers should not have to work too hard to suspend disbelief.  Simply, our stories need to be believable.  It has everything to do with a character’s motivation.  The dilemma we have then?  If you create characters who behave totally ‘normal’ all the time, you’ll produce a flat, boring, lifeless book.
So what is the key?  Characters with flaws are actually something we can relate to or even understand.  Yep, it’s back to that simple comment, ‘nobody is perfect.’  
Would you agree that love and of course let’s add sex – makes people behave illogical, unreasonable, foolish, crazy, ridiculous, absurd, silly, etc?  Even I prefer the day-whiskered cowboy who makes a fun-fool of himself after too many beers, over the pin-striped suit guy with perfect teeth and not a hair out of place who won’t let go and have fun.  I prefer the belly laugh over the carefully controlled, polite laugh in a hand.  
You must instill a strong enough motivating factor—even an irrational one—so you can interject a plausible reason for erratic actions on the part of your characters. And let’s face it, those characters are far more appealing and exciting to read about than those who are behaving rationally.
Also keep in mind that you can create several twisting sub-plots when you give your characters obsessions, quirks, issues, eccentricities, peculiarities, habits, characteristics, features — by chance or not—that can act as a thread through the story.
Consider someone who is infatuated girls who wear cowboy hats, and can become single-mindedly so, leading to horrible errors in judgment. Control freaks turn narcissistic and are prone to making fatal decisions:
“Come on, Jordan, we can catch the mountain lion’s trail in the morning.  It’s dangerous tracking her at night.” 
“Shut the hell up!  I’m the best tracker in these parts day or night.  No mountain lion is getting the best of me!”
What follows is that the obsessed character must either find favor (or be forced to it), or reject change and stick with their fixated, self-serving life to the end. Either way, it does make for powerful and gripping storytelling.
You don’t need a degree in psychology to incorporate the obsessed or strange side of human nature in your books.  All it takes is a little unpredictability.
Choose which of your characters is the weakest—which one believably has issues. Which one are you scared to deal with?
Now, give this character the devil’s advocate workout and determine what characteristics will add dimension to the story. Let’s say your character is obsessive about being the last one entering a room for a meeting – he likes the all-eyes entrance and the power it gives him.
OK: We expect this from him and now this character becomes more interesting, and we have a certain expectation he will never be early . . . and we have a certain inkling . . .  a sort of uh-oh: What’s going to happen when suddenly a lot is riding on him being somewhere on time—or someone might be shot? This kind of situation does two things; it makes a character stronger as a gripping ruse, and it makes him more haunting or memorable.
A character’s weirdness or quirks can be the one thing that keeps your readers speculating to the end.  It can keep them captivated, riveted, enthralled, mesmerized, transfixed, as they attempt to unravel and conceive theories.  Who knows, they might not even notice your awkward character—but they will get a feeling that for some strange reason, this character just seems ‘normal’ with all his imperfections.

Monday, February 18, 2013

NOVEL ENDINGS By Rita Karnopp


There is one thing that is almost more important than the first sentence of your book.  Can you guess what it is?  It’s the last sentence of your book.  If you end your book with a punch, with a satisfying thought, you reader will think about the story long after they stop reading ‘the end.’
It’s important to understand what you can and can’t do to write that successful novel ending that will entice agents, publishers and, more importantly, readers. How can you write a strong closer?
Characters or subplots - Don’t introduce any new characters or subplots within the last 50 pages, and if you do they should have been foreshadowed earlier, even if mysteriously.  Why?  You won’t have time to flesh them out before the end of the book.  You don’t want a red-herring either.  The last fifty pages should be tying all the loose ends together for a satisfying ending.
Over describing or explaining – Wouldn’t you agree that reading a book where the author has described everything to distraction is frustrating?  If the book has me otherwise ‘hooked’ I find myself skimming the details or explanations.  Keep description to a minimum, but maximize action and conflict.
A sense of surprise -  Don’t you just love it when the book you’re reading ends with that ‘ah ha’ or ‘I didn’t catch that’ or ‘yes – I had a feeling’ or ‘I never would have thought of that – I love it?”  The biggest surprise of the story will make the best ending ever. Readers love it when some early, slight detail becomes the great ‘ah ha’ moment at the end.
Involve your reader -  Make sure you reader is invested in the story and becomes so involved that she cannot put down it down; in bed, at work, or even in the bathroom.  Really, I was reading a book that had me so involved – I slipped it under my shirt at work so I could read just a few more pages in the bathroom!  I’m not proud of it – but it’s true!
Happy or not endings – I’ve read some no so happy endings – I’m sure you have too.  But even with the not-so happy ending, try to make it a lesson learned, or a future that looks brighter.  Not all endings have a happily-ever-after ending, but try to leave the reader with some uplift. 
Good in the end - We shouldn’t create perfect heroes or heroines.  They should have flaws and some should even make some mistakes along the way.  The story should allow the reader, and the character, to realize that in the end she has done the right thing.  That she has come a long way and has learned something from her mistake(s).
Loose ends? – Nothing is more annoying than something planted early is the story, and has stuck with the reader, only to find it’s never addressed or solved by the end.  Every question or clue you plant in a reader’s mind should be addressed, even if the answer is to say that a character will address that issue later, after the book ends.
Final words reflect your opening - Some time ago a multi-published author stated; “I make a point that my final sentence of my book will mirror events in the opening sentence or paragraph.”  Wow, I had never thought of this before.  When you begin writing your book you already have established a purpose. By the ending, make ensure all the snags and hitches support that beginning. It’s often called the tie-back tactic.  Create a sense that the final words answer the foundation or beginning of the story.
Voice, tone and attitude – This applies to the entire story, but the ending even more so.  I’ve often read an entire book and the final paragraph is a narrative ending.  Say what?   Who is this person?  Why are you ending my story?  Never tack on the voice of a narrator to explain the ending.  It’s a real let-down.  It snaps us out of the flow of the story.  It truly will not suspend the disbelief.   
Gimmick ending - Please, if nothing else has grabbed you in this blog, please head this comment.  Don’t end your story with peculiar twists or trick endings. You’re reader has stuck with you to the end of your story.  She has participated, cared, worried, and rooted for the characters.  Don’t leave your reader feeling tricked or cheated. You want her to love the ending . . . and your book.  You want her to ask, “What other books have this author written?”  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Welcome Kathryn Meyer Griffith to Dishin' It Out


The Story of Scraps of Paper
A murder mystery by Kathryn Meyer Griffith


I’ve been writing for over forty-one years and have gone through a lot of frustrating or downright infuriating situations with publishers and editors.  Since 1981 I’ve had eight of them. I’ve suffered 4% royalties, dreadful covers, bad editing and shoddy proof-reading, confusing statements, late royalty payments (or nonexistent ones) and other near-criminal acts committed against me by publishers and editors I’d so naively put my trust into over the years. Now days I like to look back at those occasions, write about them; smile or even laugh over them, though they weren’t so funny when they were happening. This is one of those smiling times…because the conception, writing, publishing and, finally, self-publishing of my murder mystery Scraps of Paper has had such a long vexing journey.
On January 15, 2013 I self-published it as an eBook, for the first time, on Amazon Kindle Direct, after waiting ten long years as it languished beneath a terribly unfair hardback contract with Avalon Books that had a sell-off limit of 3,500 hardcopies. Ten years where they claimed it barely sold (no joke…their asking price was ridiculously high at $26.00) and that it didn’t sell one copy in the last two years of its contract–though the book was on sale everywhere on the Internet. I never received one royalty statement and had to beg in yearly emails to be told how many copies had sold that year. Of course, since the totals never got near the 3,500, , they said, I would get no royalty statements. And I never did. Not one. Ever. Last month my book was finally mine again and I was free of that atrocious contract and now, after a revision and commissioning a new stunning cover from my cover artist Dawne Dominique, I’ve released it into the world without the publisher’s shackles to imprison it. Fly little bird, fly!
Originally I wrote it be the first of a series set in this quaint, quirky little town I tongue-in-cheek called Spookie. I mean, most of my books before were horror novels and I was basically considered a horror writer, so the town’s name was the tip-of-the-hat to my horror roots. It’d be my first venture into that genre, which I’d always loved. Sherlock Holmes. Murder She Wrote. Detective Frost. Miss Marple. I wrote it and then, quickly after, a second in the series All Things Slip Away for Avalon Books. I got a modest advance up front for each one.
It was 2002. I’d come out of a lengthy publishing dry spell. My seventh paperback novel, Zebra’s The Calling, a ghost story with an ancient Egyptian theme, had come out in 1994. Then they dumped a lot of us mid-list horror writers, me included, saying horror was dying; and for eight years I couldn’t sell another book. Well, living my life got in the way during some of that time. I’d lost my long-time good-paying graphic artist job in 1994 and had to find another one. The pay was a lot less. No good for my budget or my standard of living, which really fell. I went from one of five bad jobs to another over the next six years…each worse and lower paying than the one before.  Each more demanding. I needed to make money. No longer could I live with pie-in-the-sky literary dreams. I had to face reality. So I stopped writing for a while.
When I finally came up for breath and my head was back on straight again I decided to write something different…a mystery. I’d always loved mysteries.  I began writing Scraps of Paper. About a woman, an artist named Jenny, whose husband has been missing for two years, and who’s just learned he’s been dead all that time–a victim of a gone-wrong mugging. She begins a new life and moves to a small town full of fog, quirky townspeople and mysteries. And right away she’s drawn into one of her own when she buys, renovates, a fixer-upper house and uncovers hidden in it scraps of paper written by two young children who once lived there with their mother, and who supposedly drove away thirty years before and were never seen again. The town thought they simply went someone else; began a new life. But Jenny suspects they never left the house; suspects they’d been murdered. Then she finds three graves in the back.
Of course, with her history of a missing husband she develops the overpowering urge to find out what happened to them. The scraps of paper she continues to find makes the bond, the desire, stronger. She forms a friendship with an ex-homicide cop, Frank, and together they try to solve the mystery. Only thing is there’s someone still living in the town that just as desperately doesn’t want them to. Someone who’d kill to keep the murderer’s identity secret.
When done I was proud of it. Thought it was good. I sent it to Avalon Books in New York. They loved it and bought it. I signed the contract, though I didn’t like some of the things in it. But I was desperate. I hadn’t had a book published in so long and, as my mom always said, beggars can’t be choosers.  I sold them the second in the series, hoping it’d help sell the first. They got great reviews. But I came to regret signing both those contracts more as every year went by because I never received one penny more for either book for the next ten years. I know, it sounds impossible. But it happened to me. I’m sure it happened to a lot of their authors. Probably one of the reasons Avalon Books sold themselves lock-stock-and-barrel to Amazon Publishing in June of 2012 and, without their authors’ knowledge or permission, including mine, sold away their authors’ contracts from under them as well.  I guess you live and learn. I was just lucky Scraps of Paper’s contract had run out. I took the book back.
But, all that is in the past, and my revised Scraps of Paper-Revised Author’s Edition is now available, on sale for $3.99 (much better than $26.00), at Amazon Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B1W4A2K   And I hope people will have the chance to read it this time around and like it.
***
Blurb for Scraps of Paper-Revised Author’s Edition by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Abigail Sutton’s beloved husband walks out one night, doesn’t return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It’s made her sympathetic to the missing and their families.
Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna’s younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.
But in renovating the house Abigail finds scraps of paper hidden behind baseboards and tucked beneath the porch that hint the three could have been victims of foul play.
Then she finds their graves hidden in the woods behind the house and with the help of the eccentric townspeople and ex-homicide detective, Frank Lester, she discovers the three were murdered. Then she and Frank try to uncover who killed them and why…but in the process awaken the ire of the murderer. ***

***This book is the first of a series. The second book, All Things Slip Away, where Abigail and Frank’s sleuthing adventures continue is also for sale on Amazon.

 About Kathryn Meyer Griffith...


Since childhood I’ve always been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. I began writing novels at 21, over forty years ago now, and have had seventeen (ten romantic horror, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance and two murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books/Eternal Press and Amazon Kindle Direct.
I’ve been married to Russell for almost thirty-five years; have a son, James, and two grandchildren, Joshua and Caitlyn, and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois called Columbia, which is right across the JB Bridge from St. Louis, Mo. We have three quirky cats, ghost cat Sasha, live cats Cleo and Sasha (Too), and the five of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk singer in my youth with my brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.
       
Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure, 1984; Damnation Books, 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure, 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure, 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra, 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra, 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Witches (Zebra, 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Nameless One (short story in 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
The Calling (Zebra, 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition, 2011)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2006…Amazon Kindle Direct ebook & paperback 2013)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011) My self-made
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)
You Tube Book Trailer address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZYCs2DVhHg
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press, 2008; Author’s Revised Edition, Eternal Press 2011)
Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella & bonus short story: In This House (2008; ghostly romantic short story out; Eternal Press 2012) You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books 2010) 
You Tube self-made Book trailer with original song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0-U9c2Lwfo
The Woman in Crimson (Eternal Press 2010)
You Tube Book Trailer Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRBvDI5G4Y
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction)
4 Spooky Short Stories (Amazon Kindle 2012)
Telling Tales of Terror (I did the chapter on Putting the Occult into your Fiction)
Dinosaur Lake (from Amazon Kindle Direct 2012)
Human No Longer (Amazon Kindle 2013)
Scraps of Paper –Revised Author’s Edition (Avalon Books Murder Mystery, 2003; Amazon Kindle 2013)

My Websites:
http://www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith (to see all my book trailers with original music by my singer/songwriter brother JS Meyer)
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Romance Reviews

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Manic Readers

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