To Write a Series or Not To Write a Series –by Maggie Thom

Okay, well first off I have to be honest, I had never planned on writing a series. In fact, I had sworn to myself that I would never write a sequel. Now that I’m in the process of publishing book 3, Split Seconds, of the Caspian Wine Series, I guess I have to say that was an empty promise.

 

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I love reading series and I have read many of them but one of the first things that came to me was they were a lot of work. Not only did you have to keep track of all the characters, action, situations and setting in one novel but now you have to do it across several.

So how did my series come about?

I actually wrote Captured Lies, book one, in the series many years ago and I had originally written it as a romance. For some reason, I thought to be an author that’s where you had to start. I really liked the story but I didn’t want it to be just a romance. I really wanted it to be a suspense/thriller with a hint of romance. So I tore it apart and started over. I love where it finally went but I won’t kid you, it was a lot of work.

Captured Lies is about Bailey.

Kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead. Her life was a lie!

After I published Captured Lies in 2012, it was a reader who said to me, ‘Geoff (the antagonist) is stuff that nightmares are made of. When are you writing book 2?’ She had loved the story and the characters and wanted to know more about what happened to them all. I politely told her I had no plans to write a sequel.

Words that I would again have to eat. Ideas started coming to me as to where I could take book 2. Since I felt I had wrapped up the story for those characters in book 1, I didn’t want it to be about them but to still have them part of the story. That’s when Deceitful Truths, book 2, was created.

Deceitful Truths is about Tarin.

Someone has stolen a week of her life and now wants to steal the secret she is now hiding.

The struggle I had with writing book 2 was that originally I had handwritten Captured Lies and then typed it up. So all of my notes, characters, setting, etc. were on pieces of paper. I then had to dig them all out only to find that my notes weren’t all that great and I had written some of them in the margins of the pages.

Eek, it was a mess. So I had to reread Captured Lies and pull all my notes and start a new file. It turned out to be way more work than I had thought to write a series. Mainly because I hadn’t planned for it. I always thought that people who wrote series planned them all out ahead of time and in many cases that is true but it wasn’t for me.

Now that I had done the sequel, Deceitful Truths, I again told myself, that was a cool experience but I’m not doing it again.

Well, I seem to like to eat my words. Another reader said to me, ‘Loved Deceitful Truths, but would love to know more about who Tarin’s mom was.’.

This time I just replied, ‘thank you I’ll let you know’. Immediately ideas came to me for where to go with book 3, even the title, Split Seconds.

So now I’m off writing book 3, only to realize that again I have not kept notes that I need for a series. For example, I hadn’t put exactly where the winery was located, I hadn’t made detailed notes about Tarin’s mom because she had only a short mention in Deceitful Truths. Because of where I was going with book 3 there were details that I had to go back through and read in Deceitful Truths to get.

Split Seconds is about Tijan.

Twins torn apart as toddlers… reunited as adults… and now switching places to take on organized crime…

So Book 3, Split Seconds, is now completed. The series I had never planned is written and I have no idea if there is book 4, but already a reader–who read my ARC (advanced review copy) said–I love reading about your characters. I can’t wait to read more about this family.

Oh no!

To write a series or not to write a series, is that even the right question?

 

Split Seconds is now available for pre-order: Pre-Order Split Seconds

Twins… separated as toddlers, reunited as adults… and now they’re switching places in a dangerous game to take on organized crime.

Her sister is alive! Excited to discover her twin didn’t die as a toddler, Tijan can’t wait to meet her other half. But why hasn’t her only sibling reached out in almost thirty years?

Although the reunion is joyous, not everyone is excited to discover there are two of them. Using it to her advantage, Tijan is determined to take down the one man responsible for it all… her father. The secrets and lies that have kept the two apart, soon unravel but with deadly consequences.

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An Interview with Author Maggie Thom

  1. Welcome, Maggie! Tell us a little about yourself; a quick, mini bio, if you will.

I love to read, to write, to hike in nature, find waterfalls, and go kayaking. I’m also a wife, and mom to twins.

  1. When did the proverbial writing bug first bite you? Also, give us a brief summary of your writing journey.

I wrote my first novel at 9. I dabbled off and on for a few years but really didn’t get encouraged so didn’t do much with it. In eighties, I wrote mostly poetry. Then in the nineties I got serious about my writing. I joined a writing group and a critique group and took some writing lessons. Best decision I ever made. It really grew me as a writer. I wrote many novels but didn’t do much with them. It wasn’t until 2011 that I sent my book, Captured Lies off to a traditional publisher. In 2012 I pulled Captured Lies from that traditional publisher and decided to Indie Publish. Why? The publisher said it would take another two years to see my book in print, that was too long, I was ready now.

  1. What books and authors were most influential in stirring your desire to become a writer?

There are so many who inspired me. The first author who really drew me into his writing and got me hooked was fantasy author Stephen R. Donaldson – Thomas Covenant the White Gold Wielder Series. He really sparked my curiosity with writing. He wrote such amazing fantasy stories. Then Sandra Brown and Robert Ludlum were other authors that I loved to read and learned a lot from, in how to write a good novel that draws the reader in.

  1. I understand that Maggie Thom is a nom de plume. Why did you choose to write under a pen name?

I chose to write under a penname because I was doing other things under my own name so didn’t want to confuse readers. I know as a reader when I find an author I like, I like to know that their books are all going to be in the same genre.

  1. You wrote two standalone suspense/thrillers before you decided to change course and launch the Caspian Wine Series: Captured Lies, Deceitful Truths, and the soon-to-be-released Split Seconds. Will you share with us why you chose to begin a series of suspense/thrillers, and what the inspiration was behind your decision?

It was the readers. I truly had no plans to write a series. In fact I swore I’d never write a series, I knew they were a lot of work. Captured Lies was actually a story I wrote about fifteen or so years ago. I then tore it apart and rewrote it about seven years ago. I published it in 2012 and to me that was the end of it. Then a reader asked me some questions about Captured Lies and wanted to know when I was doing book 2. I told her I wasn’t but then the ideas started coming. So I wrote book 2, Deceitful Truths. Again, for me that was it. Then… a reader asked when I was writing book 3. I just said thank you, thinking ‘well, I’m not’ but away my mind went with ideas. So I wrote book 3, Split Seconds, fully with the intent that this was it. But… I’ve already heard from a couple of my ARC readers and reviewers wanting to know where I’m going with the next book in the series. So never say never.

  1. For those who haven’t yet tasted the Caspian Wine books, can you share a brief premise of the series, the returning characters, and your protagonist? Without giving anything away, or course.

The series is loosely based around the Caspian Winery. It is a seventy-year-old winery run by Dorothea Lindell, an elderly very wealthy woman, who has a few enemies. At the center of it all is Knight’s Associates, a Private Investigative company, who specializes in cybercrimes. The stories are really about families–the good, the bad and the ugly.

Captured Lies – Bailey was kidnapped not once but twice, her life was a lie.

Bailey – after her mom dies, she discovers that all she grew up with might not be true. She definitely didn’t live the life she was intended.

Guy – is the owner and private investigator from Knights Associates, who is sent to find Bailey.

Graham – Guy’s partner.

Dorothea – Bailey’s grandmother and is Guy’s stepgrandmother.

Geoff – Dorothea’s brother

Deceitful Truths – Tarin has lost a week of her life and now someone wants to steal the secret she is now hiding.

Tarin – gets a job at Knights Associates to use them to find who is trying to steal her son

Graham – wonders if the person who might be stealing their secrets, isn’t Tarin

Guy – helps with figuring out who is trying to hack them and who Tarin really is

Dorothea – needs Knights Associates to help her fend off who is trying to take down her winery

Bailey – tries to get close to Tarin to figure out her real story

Geoff – Dorothea’s brother

Split Seconds – Tijan – Twins torn apart as toddlers, reunited as adults and now switching places to take on organized crime.

Tijan – sets out to find her twin but also meets her father who doesn’t seem to know she exists, which is good because she didn’t know he was alive. She soon learns that although he seems to run a legitimate hotel chain, not is all that it appears.

Tarin – Tijan’s twin, who didn’t know about her sister

Graham and Guy – help with protecting Tarin and Tijan and taking down organized crime

Dorothea – protecting her winery that someone wants to buy

August – who is searching for his father, finds himself hired by Caspian Winery and then asked to go undercover in Tijan and Tarin’s father’s hotel.

  1. Describe a typical day in the writing life of Maggie Thom.

When I’m in writing mode, I usually get up at 5:00 and start writing and write for a couple of hours. I’ll do this daily but usually take a few days off, every 4 or 5 days. The wildest thing I did was last November I wrote 55,000 words in 21 days, without stopping. That is the longest stretch and most words I had ever written in that short of a time.

  1. Do you work from an outline, or do you tackle your stories from the seat of your pants?

I tend to tackle from the seat of my pants at least to start. I get an idea and I start writing. Then I do a mix of seat of my pants and plotting. When I do the rewrites, that’s when I go through though and make sure that the plot done well and that all loose ends are tied up.

  1. Is the dreaded “WRITER’S BLOCK” ever a problem for Maggie Thom? If so, how do you approach it? Is there some “magical cure” you’ve found? If so, may I buy a bottle of it?

I don’t have writer’s block… anymore. In the past, I used to struggle with it but I learned that if I just wrote and didn’t edit, it made it so much easier to stay out of that critical viewpoint of ‘it sucks’. Which is what I attributed my writer’s block to. I also found that if I played with my story while I was away from computer or pen to paper, that I was able to let me imagination go wild and that has really helped me to keep the writer’s block at bay.

  1. Okay, down to the nitty-gritty. It’s a distasteful subject almost all authors must contend with, whether traditionally or independently published. Would you mind addressing and sharing your thoughts and approach to marketing and promotion? What have you found works for you, and what hasn’t?

Marketing used to be such a foreign concept for me. I think I was a late bloomer when it came to marketing. I’ve done so many things some worked some didn’t. Virtual Book tours are a good idea but do not have the impact they used to. They are still a good way to help get your name out there. Just make sure you’re using a good company. Do guest blog posts, create a Beta team (they are the first readers of the finished draft, usually before editing), create an ARC team (they read after editing and are willing to leave a review), do interviews (online and with your local newspaper and radio), do youtube readings of your book, find ways that work for you to share about your book.

This time with the launch of Split Seconds I’m doing some new things. I am doing cross promoting with other authors. Having an email list has been the most beneficial and smartest thing I have done. I give away a copy of my suspense/thriller Captured Lies to those who sign up. I work at making good connections with other authors. I do many things to help them other authors because then I know when I need help I have someone to reach out to. Like you Michael, who I love what and how you write and how you help authors, I am honored to have ‘met’ you.

  1. What’s up next for Maggie Thom? Is there another Caspian Wine thriller in the pipeline, another standalone, or . . . ?

As I mentioned earlier, no there are no plans for another book in the Caspian Wine Series but… some readers are already asking, so I don’t know. I am currently taking a story I wrote many years ago, but did nothing with, and I am rewriting it. I always liked the story but felt something was missing. Now I think I know what that is and am excited to see where it will go.

  1. Is there anything else at all that you’d like to touch on? Feel free to fire away with both barrels!

Michael, thank you for hosting me and helping me to get the word out about my new release, Split Seconds. It is now available for pre-order and for those who pre-order I have some cool bonuses.

And a special “thank you” to all those who love to read, you truly make this journey worth it.

Maggie, thanks so much for being with us and sharing the ins, outs, and struggles of being a writer and author in today’s hectic world of letters. It’s been a pleasure!

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Pre-Order Split Seconds

 

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Maggie Thom’s Bio

Want to take an adventure beyond your fingertips?

Award winning author, Maggie Thom loves the challenge of creating a web of secrets, lies and deceit. She doesn’t want you to figure it out until the end. Author of The Caspian Wine Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Series – Captured Lies (Award Winning) and Deceitful Truths with Split Seconds about to be published – and her other individual novels Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense/Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine) and Deadly Ties. Take the roller coaster ride. It’s worth it. Get your free copy of Captured Lies, Book One in the series.

Her motto: “Read to escape… Escape to read…”

Maggie Thom… proves her strength as a master of words, plots and finely chiseled characters… she weaves a brilliant cloth of the many colors of deceit.” 

Dianne Bylo — TomeTender Reviews

 

Author Links

Website: www.maggiethom.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authormaggiethom

Twitter: www.twitter.com/maggiethom2

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6549592.Maggie_Thom

 

 

 

 

A Tour de Force of the Complexities of Relationships

My 5-Star review of Max Everhart’s, ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL.
By Michael Helms
ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL is a smorgasbord of emotion. Love, hate, anger, indifference, angst, happiness, joy, disappointment–all these and many more bleed their way throughout these eleven stories. I found Max Everhart’s writing contagious; a first sentence, or paragraph–never more than a page–and I was drawn into every tale.

All_the_Different_Wa_Cover_for_KindleMost, if not all, of this collection is autobiographical to some extent. How do I know? I FEEL it! Father and son relationship is a common theme in several stories. The care for and bonding of an older brother with his younger brother; or a brother’s closeness and deep love for a troubled sister, are other paths threading through the pages of Everhart’s seminal work. A few times this former “badass” Marine found himself on the verge of tears.

The characters are wonderfully flawed and fleshed-out. The dialogue is sparse and real. The stories are raw with feeling, raw and intense and gutsy.
I became a big Max Everhart fan when I found and devoured his excellent mystery series featuring private eye Eli Sharpe: GO GO GATO; SPLIT TO SPLINTERS (a SHAMUS Award finalist); and ED, NOT EDDIE; and then his rough and tumble crime/noir novel, ALPHABET LAND. ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS . . . opens up a whole new facet of Everhart’s talent as a writer to be reckoned with.
I miss Eli Sharpe and hope to see him in future mysteries. But as long as Max Everhart keeps baring his soul through his words, I’ll be waiting in anticipation for his next book.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author for my fair and unbiased review.Max Everhart photo

Max Everhart

Goodreads Giveaway: ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN FEEL

All the Different Ways Love can Feel, by Max Everhart

Good news, I set up a Goodreads Giveaway for ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS LOVE CAN All_the_Different_Wa_Cover_for_KindleFEEL. The promotion will run from June 5th until June 12th, so drop by and put your name in the hat. I’ve got (2) signed paperback editions up for grabs. And I’ll probably write each winner a personalized letter in which I ramble about whatever is on my mind; lately, I’ve been preoccupied with such topics as the most recent season of House of Cards, how pharmaceutical companies re-purpose their drugs in order to extent the life of their patients, and my son’s floppy hair. Or I might just write three pages worth of complaining about the Southern humidity in June. Who knows? Gotta enter and win to find out. (Actually, if you just send me your address, I’ll write you a letter. I like writing letters.)

Here’s the link to enter my Goodreads Giveaway.

And I guess I should mention that the Kindle version of my book officially drops today, so if you pre-ordered, it should be available today.

Thanks!Max Everhart photo

 

Max Everhart’s latest book is a collection of short stories called All the Different Ways Love Can Feel.  It is available on his Createspace store and Amazon. Find him on Facebook and twitter.

 

DEADLY DUNES & ED, NOT EDDIE ARE NOMINEES FOR THE 2017 RONE AWARD!

We’re back! For today, anyway. Max and I have a BIG favor to ask of YOU. See the headline (above) again, and then read on. Also, we hope to begin posting on MMO again on a regular, if limited, basis. More about that next time!

ed-not-eddieMax’s third Eli Sharpe Mystery, Ed, Not Eddie, and my third Mac McClellan Mystery, Deadly Dunes, have been nominated for InD’tale Magazine’s RONE AWARD in the Mystery category (Week-6).

51ldRn0Us+L._UY250_.jpgBecause of the number of nominees in the Mystery category, each voter can vote for two separate books. Max and I would be grateful for YOUR votes!

The catch is, the first round of voting is limited to subscribers of InD’tale Magazine. HOWEVER, subscribing is both FREE & EASY! It only takes a couple of minutes and doesn’t cost you a penny. Nor will your email or other information ever be shared. The five books receiving the most “readers” votes will advance to the next round where a panel of qualified judges will read each book and vote for a winner.

Here is the URL for the voting page: http://www.indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-six

Once there, you’ll see a highlighted “Subscribe” button at the top of the page. Click it to register your account. You can then proceed to the voting page and cast your vote(s). That’s it, but please don’t delay because voting ends May 28!

Max and I will certainly appreciate your support. THANKS!

Michael and Max

And so We Bid a Fond Farewell

Saying goodby is always tough. On behalf of Kait I’d like to express our thanks to each of you for making Motive Means Opportunity a success during its brief existence. Over the course of a year we’ve gathered over 2500 followers. Not bad at all, in my humble opinion. Alas, nothing on this mortal plane lasts forever. Kait and I are both behind on deadlines for our respective publishers. My work-in-progress beckons (as does my editor!). It’s been a good ride, but the old gray mare (meant as non-gender specific) is winded, sore, and tired. In short this humble blog has become too much for us to handle and still give our writing the time and respect it deserves.

But wait–nothing is forever–who said that? fond-farewell-1Maybe circumstances will, in the not-too-distant future, allow us to reopen MMO after deadlines and rest and a hundred other things right now beyond our control work themselves out. And so, instead of goodbye we wish you all a very fond Farewell!

 

E. Michael (Michael, Mike, Mikey, or Hey You!) Helms writes the Mac McClellan Mystery series for Camel Press (among other assorted stuff). Born in Georgia, raised in the Florida panhandle, he currently resides with his wife in the Upstate region of South Carolina in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

You can find him at his Amazon author page here: https://www.amazon.com/E.-Michael-Helms/e/B001K90FSM/

e-michael-helms-headshotAnd his website: http://www.emichaelhelms.com/

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The Two-Headed Killer   By Sarah E. Glenn

 

When Gwen and I show our book to other authors, the first questions we are usually asked are: “You wrote a book together? How did you plot it?”mmexcoverfront

Creative types often have problems working together. It’s like another cook in your kitchen or, worse, a boss that tries to micromanage you. You have your creative process, and they have theirs. This is true for even authors who married other authors; sometimes the choice comes down to writing separately vs. divorce.

Yet it does happen. Richard Levinson and William Link created great television together: Columbo, Ellery Queen, Murder, She Wrote, and many other popular shows. Sometimes they devised plots together (often under the pen name ‘Ted Leighton’) which scriptwriters would turn into a television episode. James Patterson is also known for co-writing, but he takes a top-down approach: he creates the characters and a detailed plot, which is then taken over by other writers.

In our case, short stories were relatively easy. We discussed what should happen, and then one of us would begin the writing. We took turns. I remember, while writing one story, saying to Gwen, “You need to invent something,” because we’d hit the point where the character needed to reveal his invention. Then, we both had to figure out how to use it to help resolve the situation. The dialogue was a breeze. It’s fun to write, and Gwen suggests comebacks I can play off of.  It was great fun to have another imagination to build a story with. The sum was greater than the halves.

Writing a novel, though, was a bigger challenge. One of our biggest roadblocks: writing style. Gwen is a true ‘plotter’, while I am a pantser (a writer who flies by the seat of the pants). When Gwen sits down to write, she lays out her plot, then starts at the beginning of the book and produces the ensuing material in a linear fashion. She inserts scenes only when the story demands it.

I don’t do well with beginnings, since story openings invite a lot of second-guessing and, frankly, procrastination. Instead, I write the scenes that are the clearest in my head. It’s like a spider web: I fill the space between the scenes with the stuff that should precede or follow them. As a result, it can take me as long as 30,000 words to figure out what a novel is really about and force it into a logical chronology. Short stories are so much easier.

So, clashes ensued. We came up with the characters together, including ‘the crime before the crime’ and who the killer was. Gwen let me choose the poison because I love that sort of thing. I began the book because she was working on Concealed in Ash. I started with a crude sequence of events for the first part of the novel and worked with the scenes I had the strongest ideas for. Then, Gwen took over for a while and added more background to my work, plus she added the scenes between the scenes. So far, no problem.

I got back into the novel after editing a couple of anthologies, read over the previous text to reorient myself, and added further scenes. This was when the trouble started. I had this unfortunate habit of writing the scene where the killer was revealed to give myself a goalpost for the in-between narrative. Then, I wrote some critical clue discovery scenes between it and where Gwen left off.

This was a big mistake. Gwen started writing at the first gap and, through organic process, revealed a big clue that I’d set later in the book. I was unhappy that she hadn’t looked ahead, while she felt that certain clues would be discovered sooner with the technology available at the time. Then, I had a spark of an idea of how future trouble could be created with the information she’d changed. We discussed the new plot twist, and I removed and retooled the conflicting scenes as necessary. After that, I made sure to run ideas by her before I wrote them.

Gwen and I finished the book by using yWriter to coordinate the plot and firm up the chronology (which days the train ran, when court was open for arraignments, etc.). Even then, details cropped up that required retrofitting other scenes and adding new narrative.

I did the final edits to sand down the bumps. Some chapters needed more work than others.  Once the text was smoothed out, though, we had a pretty good product. Readers seem to appreciate the cultural details and the plot twists that started as accidents.

I’ve begun the sequel. We have the story mapped out in yWriter, and have agreed that if one of us makes changes to the plot, it needs to be changed accordingly in the master plot. I hope this will produce a good story more quickly, but how else were we supposed to learn?

gwen-and-sarah-fapa-conf-smallerGwen Mayo is passionate about blending her loves of history and mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. She is the author of the Nessa Donnelly Mysteries and co-author of the Old Crows stories with Sarah Glenn.

Her stories have appeared in A Whodunit Halloween, Decades of Dirt, Halloween Frights (Volume I), and several flash fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Historical Novel Society, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky. Her most interesting job, though, was as a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987. She was one of the last engineers to be certified on steam locomotives.

Website URL:   http://www.gwenmayo.com

Blog URL:          http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:               https://www.facebook.com/Gwen-Mayo-119029591509479/

Twitter:             @gwenmayo

LinkedIn:           https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwen-mayo-41175726

Skype:                gwen.mayo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4108648.Gwen_Mayo

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Gwen-Mayo/e/B003PJNWJE/

Sarah E. Glenn has a B.S. in Journalism, which is a great degree for the dilettante she is. Later on, she did a stint as a graduate student in classical languages. She didn’t get the degree, but she’s great with crosswords. Her most interesting job was working the reports desk for the police department in Lexington, Kentucky, where she learned that criminals really are dumb.

Her great-great aunt served as a nurse in WWI, and was injured by poison gas during the fighting. A hundred years later, this would inspire Sarah to write stories Aunt Dess would probably not approve of.

Website URL:                 http://www.sarahglenn.com

Blog URL:                         http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:               https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-E-Glenn-177315008966709/

Twitter:                            @SarahEGlenn and @MAHLLC

LinkedIn:                         https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-glenn-216765b

Skype:                              sarah.glenn63

Goodreads:       https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4710143.Sarah_E_Glenn

Amazon Author:          http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-E.-Glenn/e/B004P3MI2Q

 

DOGMA FOR WRITERS: Unleash the Author in You, by Sue Owens Wright

Gustav Flaubert said, “A writer’s life is a dog’s life, but it’s the only life worth living.”  If you write about dogs, as I do, this statement is especially true. My books feature a canine companion or two, including my latest stand-alone novel, “The Secret of Bramble Hill.” I don’t know whether Monsieur Flaubert had dogs of his own. If so, he must have known that they have much to teach us about the writing life if we observe their behavior. In my experience, there’s no breed better suited to be a writer’s role model than the persistent, determined basset hound, which is as French as Flaubert. 

thesecretofbramblehillI’ve been owned by eight bassets, which inspired me to create the long-eared sleuths in my Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series for dog lovers (book #5, “Ears for Murder” will be released in 2017 from Black Opal Books). Knowing these dogs as well as I do, I have come to understand that in order to lead the pack in pursuit of success in the literary field, a writer must emulate many of the same traits that make a scent hound so good at tracking hares in the field.

 I have observed basset behavior within drool-slinging range for many years and have become well versed in the history of the breed. During that time I have also come to understand that they are the perfect barketype for the writer’s life.

As comical as these dogs may look, with their sausage bodies, stubby, crooked legs and Dumbo ears, they also possess the same inner qualities every serious writer must develop or nurture in the pursuit of publication: tenacity, stubbornness, unflappable focus, and persistence. It’s not so much a matter of talent—although, it’s certainly a bonus—that helps a writer succeed, but the daily practice of those same dogged traits of the basset that will unleash the author and set him firmly on the trail to success.

I’d like to share with you what I have learned from my dogs about how to achieve success in a writing career. Here are some tricks they’ve taught me that can be applied to the writer’s life. I hope you’ll find them as useful as I have.

  1. Pick up the Scent—Every writer begins with the same question: What shall I write? A basset ranges in the field, searching for the scent of game. Then suddenly he picks up a hot scent and it’s tally-ho! The joy is no less great for a writer who has found the thing she loves to write about.
  2. Stay on Track—Dogged determination is key to success in the field or on the page. A basset hound is stubborn, tenacious, and persistent. The only difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the unpublished one gave up too soon.
  3. Follow Where the Path Leads You—Heed the signs and stay true to your goal. Like a hound, the writer may also stray off the path now and then and be distracted by any number of things, but if you keep your goal in mind, you’ll get back on track.
  4. Find your Voice—Every dog has a different bark: the mailman bark; the all paws on deck, there’s a prowler bark; the neighbor’s cat on the fence bark; the squirrel in the tree bark. Similarly, each writer has a distinctive voice. Writing, writing, and more writing will help the writer discover that voice.
  5. Use your Ears (and all your senses)—Dogs have a keen sense of hearing. Writers have good ears, too. They are always listening, eavesdropping. Like dogs, they use all their senses to experience the big, wonderful world around them.
  6. Slow and Steady Wins the Race—Have you ever tried to hurry a basset hound? The same is true of writing. There are no shortcuts. You have to do the work and take time to edit and improve your writing.
  7. Enjoy the Journey—A basset hound knows how to enjoy life. He eats, he chases cats and squirrels, plays with other dogs, follows his nose, naps. He naps a lot. He constantly conserves his energy and recharges his batteries. So should you. All work and no play make for dull, uninspired writing.
  8. Leave Your Mark Along the Way—When I walk my dogs around the neighborhood, they leave pee-mails for other dogs that say, “Hey I was here! Writers write partly because we want to leave something behind that says we were here. We’re still reading the words of writers who are now dust, but as long as we read their words, they never die. Do some good where you can. Mentor other writers. Teach.
  9. Hang with the Pack—Bassets work best in packs. So do writers. Writing can be a very lonely profession. Be with other writers, read other writers’ work, learn from other writers, and you can’t help but become a better writer.
  10. Bark up the Right Tree—A scent hound doesn’t waste time following a trail that will not lead him to his quarry. A writer must not waste time and energy sending out material incorrectly to the wrong markets.
  11. Take the Bite out of Rejection—If a dog gets rejected or pushed aside because his master can’t give him what he wants right then, he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t sulk or whine but comes back and tries again and again. With persistence, he eventually gets his reward.  

     12. Share the Rewards of the Hunt—At the end of a successful hunt, the hunter        always rewards his hounds. When you finally attain your literary goal and enjoy the fruits of your labors, give something back to show your gratitude. Be gracious. Share your reward with others. And reward yourself for a job well done.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASue Owens Wright is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. She is an eleven-time finalist for the Maxwell, awarded annually by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) to the best writer on the subject of dogs. She has twice won the Maxwell Award and earned special recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for her writing. She writes the acclaimed Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, including Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking On Murder and Braced For Murder, which is recommended on the American Kennel Club’s list of Best Dog Books.

Her nonfiction books include What’s Your Dog’s IQ?, 150 Activities for Bored Dogs, and People’s Guide to Pets. She has been published in numerous magazines, including Dog Fancy, Mystery Scene, AKC GAZETTE, Fido Friendly, The Bark, and Animal Fair. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including PEN Oakland’s “Fightin’ Words,” along with Norman Mailer and other literary notables. Her newest novel is The Secret of Bramble Hill.

Website URL: http://www.sueowenswright.com

Blog URL: http://dogearedbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/sue.o.wright

The Secret of Bramble Hill buy link:

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Bramble-Hill-Owens-Wright/dp/1626945861/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485128293&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=the+secret+of+bramble+hill+weight