Search This Blog


Monday, September 15, 2014


LAKE MICHIGAN - much colder than Waikiki Beach

If you’re like me, you enjoy the on-scene part of researching a novel.
Rocky trails to caves at Maribel in Manitowoc County in Wisconsin. Talk about eerie! Fits right in with my story.
Over the past three weeks, in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, I spent most of my waking hours visiting sites, talking to people, driving around gathering information, and taking photographs that would support the story in my latest WIP.
Boiling brats in beer before grilling.
Food was an important part of my research, especially the bohemian kolatches.
It is debatable whether my research has gotten a bit out of hand. I ended up gathering details for three separate projects. Still, even if not everything pans out, the visits with relatives and friends, discussions over fabulous meals, and colorful photographs made all the hours well-spent.
Clouds on the Water - Shoto Lake

For me, Wisconsin and Massachusetts were all about water and food. My research also included such diverse topics as gun cartridges, fishing bait, environmental issues, and taste-testing Friday perch plates at every possible venue.  
I believe my road trip was a success. Now I have to knuckle down and flesh out the story for my fourth Pepper Bibeau mystery novel. The excitement never ends!
You are welcome to check out my other Pepper Bibeau mysteries in print and ebook format at and reviews are always welcome.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

Editing a manuscript after spending months writing enough words to call it a novel might not sound like a fun project. But think of the ego booster when you come across a word, a paragraph, or a scene that makes you gasp, "Wow, did I really write that?"
As you can see, I am now in the editing phase of my WIP. While there may be a few of those "Wow" moments, I expect more morments of, "Huh, what the heck did I mean by that?" I've marked one such area already in an early chapter and still haven't figured out what I was trying to say. I do suspect it sounded brilliant when I first wrote the words.
Another problem that pops up, often, is repeated words. I guess they sound so good the first time, I want to keep using them. Not the typing error: He went went to the store. More on the order of: Sally decided to make soup for lunch. Deciding she would probably enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich, also, she took out the bread. A decision about whether to have hot chocolate with the meal would have to wait.
Of course, it is your responsibility as a writer to laugh at your own mistakes, taking pleasure in actually spotting errors before the Beta readers get their hands on the MS and really embarrass you!
What kind of mistakes do you chuckle about when you're editing your first draft?
(I'm leaving for the airport in one hour for a three-week vacation on the mainland, so I'm not able to add the names of the co-hosts for September, but I will check in and visit blog sites.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


ALEX J. CAVANAUGH'S awesome co-hosts for the August 6 posting of the IWSG will be Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

  Be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

Genre? Check: Mystery

Length? Check: Novel/75K

Setting? Check: Wisconsin

Protagonist? Check: Pepper Bibeau

Plot? Antagonist? Main Characters? Story Structure? Subplots? First Sentence? Motive? Method? Open with action or build to it? Prologue? Climax? Denouement? Epilogue? 

So many questions and decisions make the idea of writing a novel daunting. If every question had to be answered and every decision made before the writing began, there probably wouldn’t be any libraries or book stores. 

I reminded myself often that it wasn’t necessary to know exactly where I was going, and who did what at every turn, before I could write the next scene or chapter. Some days I wrote two thousand words, other days barely two hundred. On three days of the five weeks I spent writing the first draft, I wrote over five thousand words. Those prolific days produced accomplishments and memories that encouraged me to write another day. 

That’s all it takes, some encouragement to write for one more day, because you cannot write for two days at one time. 

Another trick that kept me moving forward was doing only small stretches of research. If I needed information to advance the plot, I would do a quick check on the Internet for details to assure that what I wanted to do wouldn’t paint me into a corner. Next month, I will learn the weight of a rifle loaded and unloaded, the exact distance from one county to another, and the correct bait needed to catch sunfish in June. Knowing a rifle fits into the story, the driving distance is feasible, and catching sunfish in June is legal, I could keep writing. 

What encourages you to keep writing?