While 2014 was a tough ride from a family perspective, 2015 was a year when I was finally able to breathe. Even so, I faced entirely different challenges as my sister and I renovated our family home and sorted though 45 years of our parents’ life. But 2015 was also the year I started to realize I could create again. During many hours in airports and hotels, it was mental activity to plot a book, make notes, research forensics, and write. At first, it was a way to feel I was making progress on something, anything. But writing fiction was also a learning experience. After all, I’d spent my entire career in non-fiction.
But I made something! The first book — Dakota Stone Untitled #1 — is nearly finished and revised and Dakota Stone Untitled #2 (Screwed) is underway. A friend recently said to me “you need to make it real.” For me, it’s real when it’s out there — not just living on my laptop. It’s real when I say it out loud, here and not just on the nanowrimo.org site. So, it’s real!
- Nanowrimo.org — Huge props to Nanowrimo.org for keeping writers like me moving. I’ve participated in several rounds of November as National Novel Writing Month and also Camp Nanowrimo in April and July. (In fact, April Camp is happening right now.) If you thinking writing and these sorts of free group endeavors are important, become a supporter. You’ll make a difference!
- Scrivener — Not every writer loves Scrivner from Literature and Lattes, but if you’re writing a novel and need a place for notes, note cards, storyboards, and trackable characters, plus photos, research, and web links, Srivener is the robust software you need. It’s a little difficult to map in your mind at first, so take advantage of the tutorials you’ll find online. You can draft in the program or draft externally (which is what I do). Either way, you’ll find it invaluable, especially if you’re working on academic works or series writing.
Who Is Dakota Stone?
Synopsis Dakota Stone Untitled #1
After a career of undercover work in the FBI, someone wants Dakota Stone to retire. When you’re pushing fifty, winning a knife fight isn’t as easy as it used to be. So when Special Agent Stone finds himself set up by someone inside the Bureau, he seeks outside help from former flame Jacquie Daniels. As the bodies pile up along with the international intrigue, Daniels, a former prosecutor turned wealthy widow, is only too happy to help, even when the killers get too close for comfort. From Italy to Indiana, these two realize it’s time to re-examine their lives as one fights betrayal and the other boredom. Generation X’ers will enjoy a fresh take on the genre as Dakota and Jacquie find that life and work aren’t worth dying for.
Synopsis Dakota Stone #2 — Screwed (working title)
When Jacquie Daniel’s attorney turns up dead in a Chicago hotel room with a rare, antique corkscrew in his ear, Jacquie knows exactly who to ask for help. Infiltrating the world of high-end wine collectors, Dakota Stone is up to his neck in intrique when Jacquie rescues him — again. As the bodies pile up, they follow a shady criminal underground from France to Istanbul. And who knew escaping from an old cemetery in Croatia could help them discover just what matters more in life — work, love or staying alive.