Cindy Sample Author of Dying For a Date 2017-12-11T19:33:47Z https://cindysamplebooks.com/feed/atom/ Cindy Sample <![CDATA[HELP ME CHOOSE A CHASE SCENE]]> https://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=5112 2017-07-07T18:23:19Z 2017-06-29T21:04:33Z I’m sure everyone has a favorite movie or television chase scene permanently embedded in their memory. Right? My childhood was spent glued to the television, mesmerized by the chase scenes taking place on our tiny black and white screen. Back then the action consisted of heroic cowboys riding after villainous bandits or stone-cold killers. You […]

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I’m sure everyone has a favorite movie or television chase scene permanently embedded in their memory. Right? My childhood was spent glued to the television, mesmerized by the chase scenes taking place on our tiny black and white screen. Back then the action consisted of heroic cowboys riding after villainous bandits or stone-cold killers. You could identify the bad guys by their black hats and masks, although occasionally a TV writer would go crazy and cover the hero’s face as well.   

Yep, that’s me with Hopalong Cassidy. Anyone remember him? But Zorro was my favorite fictional hero. You can’t beat the combination of a dude wearing a mask, a cape, AND a sword. To this day, I’m still enthralled with chase scenes. Not to mention cowboys. And dudes. Okay, getting a little off topic here.

As I matured, so did the film industry. And the chase scenes kept getting better and better. James Bond, dressed in a designer tux could take out a team of villains while driving a sports car, a boat,  a plane or even on skis. Moonshine truckers outraced local cops. And there’s my personal favorite—the chaotic Mini Cooper getaway in The Italian Job.

I was determined to write a truly unique chase in Dying for a Date, the first book in my Laurel McKay Mysteries. Unless some other author has written a scene consisting of dueling backhoes, I think I succeeded. Slowest chase scene ever, but it will make you giggle.

My first chase was so widely applauded I decided to expand on the theme. If Stephanie Plum could experience exploding cars in every book, certainly Laurel McKay could devise creative ways to catch a killer. 

Dying for a Dance upped the suspense when I created a snowmobile chase on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Then things really heated up in Dying for a Daiquiri when the action moved to balmy Hawaii, and Laurel ends up being chased by a crazed killer on a zip line. Laurel declared it so harrowing her screams could be heard 2,500 miles away in Sacramento.

In Dying for a Dude I finally wrote a chase scene worthy of those fine cowboys I’d idolized for years. The action takes place during the annual Wagon Train Parade in Placerville  and features what one reviewer claims is the funniest chase scene ever. Picture a stagecoach, a runaway surrey with the fringe on top, a motorcycle and a horse that can evidently leap over small cars!  

I won’t spend time here sharing the details of the chase scenes in Dying for a Donut and Dying for a Diamond. You’ll just have to read them yourself. But I do need your help crafting my latest chase scene in Dying for a Deal.

Much of the action takes place in the Lake Tahoe area, but this time during the summer. There are so many options to choose from. Paddle-boards, jet skis, year-round gondolas or an old-fashioned sternwheeler. Help me choose or come up with an original idea of your own.

 

 

 

 

If I use your suggestion, you will receive a signed copy of Dying for a Deal and also be featured in the acknowledgements. And one lucky person who comments on this blog by July 20th will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.

 

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[AN ODE TO READERS]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4919 2016-12-18T20:30:50Z 2016-12-08T20:46:09Z There are many dangerous professions in the world. But did you know that one of the most perilous occupations is that of the author? Carpal tunnel, arthritis, bulging discs and my most recent injury––a torn meniscus from pulling a suitcase full of books out of my car. Not to mention the most dreaded medical condition […]

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There are many dangerous professions in the world. But did you know that one of the most perilous occupations is that of the author?

Carpal tunnel, arthritis, bulging discs and my most recent injury––a torn meniscus from pulling a suitcase full of books out of my car. Not to mention the most dreaded medical condition of all––writer’s butt!   Sinc Norcal photo 101 Shades

In my effort to ensure that everyone in the Sacramento/El Dorado County area has heard about my Laurel McKay mystery series, I’ve spoken at or attended over 350 events in the past six years, including some really fun launch parties!  Dude launch CWC members

These appearances have been the high point of my new career. And my life.  I love meeting readers and aspiring writers, as well as other authors. Sharing stories about plotting, our characters and the fun research we get to do, is a real kick.

 

Although occasionally I get overly zealous about acquiring new fans!

 

stagecoach with gun

Those readers who take the time to contact an author are truly a high point. It’s not always easy to create another world, and those emails and comments keep us motivated. Although I’ve received some incredibly generous emails, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.

Really, truly, and absolutely love your books about the apple farm and the families. They are almost as nutty as my family. Most comforting.

You made the main character so real and likable. The way you write made me feel like I was in the story and I want her as my friend!

Hope you’re having as much fun writing the books as I did reading them!!  Look forward to more Laurel escapades!!!

I never want your books to end.

And the most touching of all––

This has been a rough year for me since my husband died. I can laugh and appreciate all of Laurel’s dilemmas. My daughter gave me a gift card for Christmas and I bought Dying for a Date. Now I am hooked. It gave me some laughs over a sad Christmas. My dogs and I had our dinner. Then I settled down with the e-book. Things looked a lot brighter.

Talk about motivating. That comment brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes!

Whether you are an author or a reader, I’d love to hear from you. What keeps you motivated to pursue your dreams? If you leave a comment by midnight December 16th, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $20 Amazon gift card. We can all use that!

For an opportunity to win 32 cozy mysteries, check out this incredible drawing.  https://authorsxp.com/giveaway

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

And the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is Sandy Todd. Congratulations, Sandy. Enjoy!

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[THE SCENE OF THE CRIME]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4780 2016-03-07T18:28:19Z 2016-02-23T04:17:00Z Have you ever wondered how much research goes into writing a mystery? In this day and age, it’s easy enough to Google just about anything. So how important is it for an author to be on location in order to produce an accurate scene? One that will please the reader as well as a Jeopardy […]

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Have you ever wondered how much research goes into writing a mystery? In this day and age, it’s easy enough to Google just about anything. So how important is it for an author to be on location in order to produce an accurate scene? One that will please the reader as well as a Jeopardy champion know-it-all.

Although my books are cozy mysteries, Laurel McKay, my protagonist, has ended up in a number of dangerous situations. For authenticity, I decided that I should experience the same situations that she encounters, but without the perils. Mostly. So I’ve learned how to drive a backhoe, danced in a ballroom competition, discovered the joys of ATV riding and zip-lining in Hawaii, and drunk copious cups of Kona coffee as well as numerous pitchers of daiquiris in search of the perfect one (Lilikoi).  ATVXWaipioXmedXsize

I’ve also climbed inside a wine crusher (terrifying), ridden in a stagecoach and sampled donuts across the country.

 

 

 

 

That donut research was definitely the most dangerous!  To my waistline!DonutsXRiseXnXXRoll

 

My current WIP, Dying for a Diamond, takes place on a Caribbean cruise. Now you probably think I picked that location to give me an excuse to take a cruise. And you would be completely right.

Two years ago, while on a Dancing with the Stars cruise, I bumped into a fan of cozy mysteries. Liz Davies and I became online friends and we decided book six needed to take place on a cruise ship. She assembled a wonderful group of ladies and gents from all over the country, and together we combed the ship for potential scenes of the crime.

We discovered that not all passengers were as enthralled as we were with finding the best place to stuff a stiff, so we discreetly formed the DB (dead body) club. The crew, the dance cast, a security officer, and ship photographer were also more than happy to help us find places to hide my poor victim.

Or victims. Occasionally I get carried away and this ship certainly had enough excellent hiding places. One of the members of the DB Club even acted out a scene we called DYING FOR A DISCO! gwenX4XX2X

But just because we researched the ship from one end to the other, it doesn’t mean I’ve made my final decision just yet. I want to hear from my creative readers. For those of you have taken a cruise, tell me some likely hiding places. And if you haven’t been on a cruise, let your imagination go wild. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card of your choice.

If your suggestion ends up being the actual crime scene, you will be acknowledged in the book. And I may even throw in a fake diamond! Leave a comment by midnight on March 8 to be entered in the drawing.

 

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[DYING FOR A RECIPE]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4734 2015-12-31T07:21:17Z 2015-09-29T05:19:27Z As autumn approaches, what do you most look forward to? The beauty of the fall colors? Cooler nights with a fire roaring in your fireplace, a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other? A mad scrimmage on the ten yard line? For our family, nothing says fall like a tangy […]

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As autumn approaches, what do you most look forward to? The beauty of the fall colors? Cooler nights with a fire roaring in your fireplace, a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other? A mad scrimmage on the ten yard line?

For our family, nothing says fall like a tangy bite of a caramel apple, the sweet taste of a cinnamon-apple donut or the scent of fresh-baked apple pie. AbelXsXcaramelXapplesAutumn means visits to the farms located in the area known as Apple Hill, where we can view miles of scenic vistas and miles of savory pastries.

Last Thanksgiving, my daughter flew home from Seattle. She’d barely walked down the airport escalator when she told me she was literally “dying for a donut.” We drove directly from the Sacramento Airport to Apple Hill where we satisfied that pressing need with a dozen of High Hill Ranch’s finest.

dawnXgoofyXAppleXHill

It probably comes as no surprise that the next book in the Laurel McKay Mysteries is Dying for a Donut, to be released November 15. Laurel stumbles into a mystery involving her daughter’s employer, the owner of Apple Tree Farm. Although Laurel thinks detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, she soon discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you.

Researching Dying for a Donut was definitely MY most dangerous research yet!

I’d love to learn about your favorite fall experiences so feel free to share them with us. I’m also betting that readers will be dying for some tasty snacks once they’ve finished Dying for a Donut. For those of you who love to bake, or those of you who love to eat and have friends who love to bake, please share your favorite apple, pear or pumpkin-based recipe. Ten entries will be randomly chosen and included in the back of the book.

The winners will be acknowledged in Dying for a Donut and will also receive a free copy of the book . Entries must be received by midnight October 7, 2015. You can leave the recipe on this blog or email it to me at cindy@cindysamplebooks.com

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[DYING FOR A DONUT]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4695 2015-07-09T16:26:40Z 2015-07-08T21:51:10Z What makes you drool over a book? Is it the title?  If so, how could you resist a book called Dying for a Donut? A lip smacking mystery. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Or is it the cover that first catches your eye? COVER 1 We’ve all heard that phrase, “a picture is worth a 1,000 […]

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What makes you drool over a book? Is it the title?  If so, how could you resist a book called Dying for a Donut? A lip smacking mystery. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Or is it the cover that first catches your eye?

COVER 1DONUTXoneXhandXwithXhills

We’ve all heard that phrase, “a picture is worth a 1,000 words,” supposedly coined by Fred R. Barnard in 1921 when he promoted images in advertisements first appearing on the sides of streetcars. Others believe it’s an old Chinese proverb. Or a Japanese proverb. Who knows? What I do know is that I truly want my book covers to hint at the magic that occurs on the pages of my books.

COVER 2    DONUTX2XhandsXnoXhills

So how does an author find a way to combine humor, homicide and romance all in one tasty cover? There are so many elements to convey in a mystery. Do we display the victim who was powder-sugared to death? Is the killer a man or a woman?  I didn’t even know whodunit until 175 pages into the story. I will say one thing–– this story is definitely a doozy! And it takes place in the fall at one of my favorite areas-Apple Hill.

COVER 3   DONUT_A3_060315XcrimeXsceneXtape

My wonderful cover artist, Karen Phillips, has designed three different covers. Let me know your thoughts. Pick one of the three covers or combine elements from several of them. I would love to see your creative ideas so feel free to share suggestions of your own. If you leave a comment by July 17th, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win the first signed copy of Dying for a Donut plus a $10 gift certificate to your favorite donut hangout.

 

 

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[TRAVELS WITH MOM]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4663 2015-05-20T16:32:48Z 2015-05-07T23:56:23Z ROAD TRIP! Do those two words bring back visions of the crazy days of our youth? Mustang convertibles and VW bugs.  Beach Boys and the Beatles. Tossing beer cans out of windows and mooning travelers in passing cars. Some of you may remember those days. Others prefer to block those memories. But if I had […]

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ROAD TRIP! Do those two words bring back visions of the crazy days of our youth? Mustang convertibles and VW bugs.  Beach Boys and the Beatles. Tossing beer cans out of windows and mooning travelers in passing cars. Some of you may remember those days. Others prefer to block those memories. But if I had to guess, I would imagine that most people do not have the wild memories that I have––taken with my favorite traveling companion of all time.  My mother.

Mom, brother Jeff and me not smiling as usual - 1956 Atlantic City.

Mom, brother Jeff and me not smiling as usual – 1956 Atlantic City.

While no one has ever confused us with Thelma and Louise, we’ve had our share of adventures. Mom and I attempted to eat our way through New Orleans and even lifted our shirts on Bourbon Street. I still don’t know why no one tossed us any beads.

Maybe you’re supposed to lift them above your waist!

We’ve line danced at country bars, attempted the hula in Hawaii and briefly contemplated belly dancing at one restaurant. We wisely chose to fill our bellies instead.

On a European adventure, we dined at the Eiffel Tower, cruised the Seine, visited Marie Antoinette’s vacation palace and narrowly escaped bombings at subway stations. Twice! Switzerland was a nice respite after our Parisian adventures. We climbed the Matterhorn, sampled cheese fondues, drank from beer steins bigger than we were and did the Swiss version of a conga line. Everyone’s favorite – the chicken dance!

Lake Como cruise

Lake Como cruise

Despite Mom’s confused versions of thank you––merci in Germany and danke in France, she was unilaterally loved across the European continent. Especially by the street vendors.

In recent years, our vacations have become shorter. Cruises are on Lake Tahoe instead of the Caribbean. Sometimes we’ll drive forty-five minutes then take a twenty minute pit stop. Other times it’s the reverse. MomXandXCindyXTahoeWe’ve both become more forgetful. I once left her walker behind.

She once forgot her teeth!

Last February, I flew to Chicago to help celebrate her 89th birthday and pack for her move to an assisted living facility.  Her eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. But her sly sense of humor hasn’t dimmed a whit. When Mom discovered her new residence didn’t offer weekly card games, she began teaching pinochle and bridge to both the residents and the staff. Since she can no longer read, she now listens to audio books. Naturally, she started an audio book club. Now that spring has finally hit the Midwest, I expect she’ll be organizing forays all over town.

Although our future road trips will undoubtedly be far shorter, I know every minute of the time I spend with my mother will provide memories to be treasured forever.

Now it’s your turn.   I would LOVE to read about your stories, funny or poignant. One lucky commenter will win a paperback copy of Cozy Food, 128 Cozy Mystery Writers share their Recipes and a copy of Dying for a Daiquiri because, who isn’t? The winner will be chosen at midnight on May 15th.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

The winner of the Travels with Mom post is Susan Coryell. Congratulations to Susan. Thanks to everyone else for sharing your wonderful stories.

 

 

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[FIFTY SHADES OF ROMANCE]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4617 2015-05-20T16:34:42Z 2015-02-10T03:52:00Z As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am once again pondering the subject of romance. I’m also pondering how much post Valentine’s clearance chocolate I can consume without breaking the zipper on my black jeans. Someone may be Dying for a Diet in the near future.   Everyone has a different definition of what constitutes romance. Romance readers, […]

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As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am once again pondering the subject of romance. I’m also pondering how much post Valentine’s clearance chocolate I can consume without breaking the zipper on my black jeans. Someone may be Dying for a Diet in the near future.   Sees Valentines

Everyone has a different definition of what constitutes romance. Romance readers, who represent 40% of overall readership, have preferences for love stories that range from sweet to steamy to erotic, (the latter a rising niche if you get my drift) as proven by the sales of over 100 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and an upcoming movie release.

I tend to favor the sweet side of the romance curve myself, although I probably wouldn’t complain if someone tied me to the bedpost using a chain of milk duds. And then had the good grace to leave me alone.

I also firmly believe that romance, along with beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Women love to be wooed, but your partner’s idea of a heavenly gift could be your idea of hell.

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, some women are happiest when their suitors or significant others send them flowers.

 

Roses

Other women are drawn to sparkly tokens of affection. Didn’t Marilyn Monroe once say, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Or maybe it was Kim Kardashian.

Ever hopeful spouses frequently buy naughty nighties and sexy undies for their wives. Honestly, you guys would be better off delivering a gift-wrapped faucet for that dripping bathroom sink.

So what is your preference? A candlelit dinner for two at an expensive restaurant? Spending a day at the spa? A dozen red roses? My own favorite, and that of my chocoholic protagonist Laurel McKay, is dark chocolate in any shape and poundage!  Chocolate at the candy emporium

I would love to hear your stories. Leave a comment by midnight February 18th about a memorable Valentine’s present or event, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift card to the chocolaterie of your choice (or anywhere else you choose). Also for everyone who comments, I’ll donate a $1 to the American Heart Association. Let’s all help make it a heart-happy month!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, DYING FOR A DATE, the first book in the Laurel McKay Mysteries has been reduced to only 99 cents through February 24th. Now that IS a perfect Valentine’s gift!  DATE-cvr

AMAZON

http://tinyurl.com/DyingforaDateKindle

NOOK

http://tinyurl.com/DyingforaDateNook 

iBOOKS   

http://tinyurl.com/DyingForADateiBooks

The winner of the gift card is Bev Moglich. Thanks for sharing your wonderfully

romantic story with us, Bev.

 


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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[CUT TO THE CHASE]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4510 2014-12-13T02:54:50Z 2014-11-08T18:10:43Z Cindy describes her ongoing love affair with chase scenes, sharing some of the wacky antics occurring in her own series. http://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/cut-to-the-chase-and-a-giveaway/  

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Cindy describes her ongoing love affair with chase scenes, sharing some of the wacky antics occurring in her own series.

http://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/cut-to-the-chase-and-a-giveaway/

 

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[AN INTERVIEW WITH CINDY SAMPLE]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4467 2014-12-13T02:52:29Z 2014-08-31T02:40:16Z What a fun interview – learn all the secrets behind the Laurel McKay “DYING FOR” mysteries and what you can look forward to in coming attractions! http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2014/08/cindy-samples-humorous-mysteries.html

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What a fun interview – learn all the secrets behind the Laurel McKay “DYING FOR” mysteries and what you can look forward to in coming attractions!

http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2014/08/cindy-samples-humorous-mysteries.html

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Cindy Sample <![CDATA[WRITERS ON WRITING]]> http://cindysamplebooks.com/?p=4438 2014-06-25T05:22:37Z 2014-06-12T03:09:10Z Have you ever wondered how authors write their books? Heather Haven, a hysterically funny mystery author, asked me to participate in a blog hop devoted to how writers go through their process of writing. New writers frequently ask me for the secret to how they should write. The secret is that there is no secret. All […]

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Have you ever wondered how authors write their books? Heather Haven, a hysterically funny mystery author, asked me to participate in a blog hop devoted to how writers go through their process of writing. New writers frequently ask me for the secret to how they should write. The secret is that there is no secret. All writers eventually develop their own style and a process that works for them.  Even though I’m almost finished with the fourth book in my Laurel McKay mysteries, my own writing process has continued to evolve. I’m far more efficient now than when I started. However, one thing remains constant for every author I know – we can find 101 ways to procrastinate. The other constant is that tenacity is our middle name.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON AT PRESENT?

I am eighty percent finished with the first draft of Dying for a Dude. Part of my growth was learning to be comfortable with that “sh***y” first draft that author extraordinaire Anne Lamott discussed in her book, Bird by Bird.  Once I realized that every one of the 80,000 words in my first draft could be revised (and they frequently are) I felt free to explore the many paths my protagonist wants to take. I still marvel at the magic that occurs when my fingers hit the keyboard each day.

Cindy office Please note my laptop is on my wet bar, conveniently located next to the wine refrigerator!

HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN ITS GENRE?

I specialize in what one reviewer referred to as “feel good” humor. My protagonist, Laurel McKay, is a thirty-nine-year old single soccer mom, the kind of woman you want to have as your best friend. She has plenty of foibles, but she is a decent person, intent on raising her kids properly. Eventually she hopes to settle down with that special man, the one who makes her heart and body sing. Of course, I keep messing with Laurel, forcing her to stumble over a dead body here and there. But if it wasn’t for those dead bodies, Laurel would never have met Detective Tom Hunter. I feel it’s important to have several relevant themes going on in the book as well as a basic whodunit mystery, all of which will enrich the reader’s experience.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

Every day we hear about heartbreaking stories or tragic events that have occurred, sad tales of loss and despair. We all need something to brighten our day and that is part of my mission. While I love to solve a good puzzle myself, I also want people to enjoy an occasional laugh-out-loud moment when they are reading one of my mysteries. Many people have purchased my books as gifts for friends coming out of the hospital. The only requirement is that the patient does not read them until their stitches have been removed.

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Process?  I’m supposed to have a process? Come closer while I share a secret. I don’t write every day. Gasp! Except for emails so maybe that counts. In the early years, I was known as a binge writer. No, that doesn’t refer to the excessive amount of Kit Kat bars I consumed. My preference is still to carve out a week where I can write all day and night, with no social or author events to distract me. I can produce ten to fourteen pages daily in that type of immersion environment. I’ve also learned to treat my writing as a profession, so most days I churn out from two to six pages. Then there are the annoying days when I delete more words than I add.  It’s all part of the process.

As far as plotting, every author occasionally reaches a point where he or she is stumped. I find it helps to plot and plod. I walk around the house with my cat, Zoey from the Bronx, following right behind me.  I call this my creative exercise program. But it works for me. Then if I’m still in a plotting funk, I go look at open houses. Seriously –– whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing! Chocolate works wonders to fuel your word count!

Chocolate

I would love to know more about your writing process, or any other creative endeavor. Leave a comment by June 22nd and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $10 Amazon gift card.  Next week two of my favorite humorous mystery authors will discuss their writing process. Check them out.

Congratulations to Mary Beth Magee, the winner of the $10 gift card!

LIZ JASPER writes curl-up-on-the-couch-with-chocolate paranormal humorous mysteries. Her first novel, Underdead, about a science teacher who is turned almost into a vampire, won the 2008 EPPIE Award for Best Mystery. The sequel was Underdead In Denial, The third in the series, Underdead with a Vengeance, is a new release. She also has published the first novel in a humorous demon princess trilogy for teens. Liz is currently working on the next book in her Underdead series. Visit her at www.lizjasper.com.

DIANA ORGAIN is the bestselling author of the Maternal Instincts Mystery Series: Bundle of Trouble, Motherhood is Murder, Formula for Murder, and Nursing a Grudge.  She is the co-author of GILT TRIP the next book in the NY Times Bestselling Scrapbooking Mystery Series by Laura Childs.  Diana’s new Reality TV Mystery series will be published by Penguin in Spring 2015. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.dianaorgain.com.

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