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Starting a Novel Series with a Partner: The Planning by E. J. Williams

October 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Starting a Novel Series with a Partner by E. J. Williams tagged as , , ,

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the thrillers of INTERNATIONAL MYSTERY SERIES, as E. J. Williams. Our tales transport the reader from 1962 Southern California to various international locales. In the first new book of the series, STONE PUB, we find ourselves in County Cork, Ireland.

Planning the series, then planning the individual novel in the series takes a great deal of time. It is so easy to get stuck on one idea and not move ahead. The two of us had MANY ideas we threw around.

So, we implemented deadlines—not just for writing (which needs to happen) but at the planning stage … making decisions.

For example, “By the next meeting follow, we will decide on:” 

1) Romantic scene, when, where, and with who.

2) Car chase: where will it take place and who is chasing whom, etc. Once we agree on these details, one of us writes the scene, and the other adds to it.

Beware of analysis/paralysis. We knew of a co-writing team who couldn’t agree on the names of the characters, not just one but all. Their writing ground to a halt for months!

Remember that your mutual goal is to write a good story.

The takeaway: When writing together, plan your approach.

Remember… the crucial thing is to write a good story. So, stay tuned … there is more to come.

STONE PUB is the first in the series, and yes … we are still married!

Websites:

Janet  Elizabeth Lynn

Will Zeilinger


Some of Janet’s and Will’s Novels

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

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SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

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SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

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STRANGE MARKINGS

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Prolific Mystery Author Emily Brightwell Reveals Her Writing Process

October 2, 2021 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,

Emily Brightwell was born in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Her family moved to Southern California in 1959 and she grew up in Pasadena. After graduating from California State University at Fullerton, she decided to work her way around the world and took off for England. She didn’t get any further than that because she met the man who would become her husband in Leeds, Yorkshire, married in 1976 in California, and later had two children.

While working in international shipping in Long Beach, she decided to pursue her dream and become a writer—which, of course, is the best job ever. To date, Emily has written over fifty novels in three genres—romance, young Adult and of course, mystery.

Emily lives in Carson City, Nevada and is currently working on “Mrs. Jeffries Aims to Win” the 41st book in the series.

I’m excited to have multi-published author Emily Brightwell here with us today. The 40th novel in her fabulous Mrs. Jeffries Victorian London Mystery Series will make its debut on November 16th!! Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders has Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Gerald Witherspoon hot on the path to solve their latest murder case.

Jann: As a multi-published author, is it hard to keep the books fresh and engaging?

Emily: Keeping a long-running series fresh isn’t easy, but it’s loads of fun. I’ve written forty “Mrs. Jeffries” books and I’m currently working on number forty-one. Where does my inspiration come from? It comes from everywhere, from newspapers, books, social media, magazines, and most of all real life. I’m a news junkie and lest you think that the news of today couldn’t possibly provide any insight into how the Victorians lived, loved and murdered, you’d be dead wrong. People haven’t changed.

Whether we live in Victorian England or modern America, we’re driven by the same emotions today as we’ve always been; love, hate, envy, greed, fear, jealousy, obsession. Every emotion they had, we have. When I sit down to write, I pinpoint the underlying emotion that drives my killer and work from there. For example, take the idea of ‘greed’ as a motive for murder. There are hundreds of ways that ‘greed’ can be used in any time period—from a Victorian wife who murders her husband for his money to a tech company billionaire who wronged his original partners so he could have it all.

Jann: What is your writing process and has it changed with all the new writing programs?

Emily: My process hasn’t really changed and I don’t use any of the ‘new writing programs’.  Here’s how I do it. Once I have my motive, I then branch out to other aspects of the manuscript; characters, milieu, sub plots, red herrings, identifying internal as well as external conflicts for everyone, including the killer! As I said, it’s loads of fun and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

I believe effective writing requires conflict in every scene…you’ll notice I said ‘conflict’ not confrontation. Constant arguing is just tiresome, but conflict, done properly, carries the reader through the scene and leaves them wanting more. Conflict can be argumentative, but the most effective use is to give your characters goals in opposition to one another. For example, Phyllis, Inspector Witherspoon’s housemaid, is saving her wages to open her own detective agency. When she learns that another character, Wiggins, is planning the same thing, there is immediate conflict between them. Phyllis feels someone she trusted has stolen her idea. A typical alpha male’s behavior! She now has a goal in opposition to him—mainly beating him at every turn in the search for information. Wiggins, on the other hand, feels that wanting the same thing would bring them close—as partners. When he realizes it hasn’t and that she’s working extra hard ‘best’ him, he develops his own way of dealing with the situation. It’s a double ‘goals in opposition’ as Wiggins is just a bit in love with Phyllis. Man versus woman—a cliche but it works!

Jann: Do you have any writing rituals? Schedule?

Emily: I often get asked what is the first thing I do before starting work on a new Mrs. Jeffries manuscript? I indulge in the one ritual I’ve had since the beginning. I call it “The Ritual Cleaning of the Office.” Yup, by the time one Mrs. Jeffries book is finished and I’m on to the next one, my desk is covered with notebooks, stacks of paper, piles of research books, sticky notes on every surface and usually cat hair on my chair. But once my office is cleansed, I get to work.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? Why?

Emily: Over the years, I’ve experimented with a number of different writing processes and I’ve finally hit upon one that works well for my personality. That’s a process I think every writer has to endure before finding what works for them. Maybe some have the gift of plotting an entire book in their head before page one but I don’t. Anyway, I digress so back to my process, which begins with me coming up with a theme. It isn’t one that you had to write in high school English. It’s something real and personal to you, the author. It can be something simple: the truth always comes to light or old sins have long memories. But it has to be something meaningful to you—a topic that illustrates what you want to tell the world. Before you say ‘but isn’t it just a story?’ Of course, it is. The main function of genre fiction is to entertain your readers, but stories also need to have a point of view about the world you’re creating. A POV that you genuinely believe in and that has some universal validity. But I’m digressing again, let’s get back to my process. After the theme, I do a character list with age, social class, physical description and a motive for wanting the victim dead. This list isn’t written in stone and frequently changes as I work through the manuscript. Then I do my favorite part; the crime-line. This is single spaced, often many pages long and follows the killer from the moment he/she decides to commit murder to the steps he/she takes to do the actual deed. It is an important part of my process and like the character list, can change as I write the book. Once those bits are completed, I dive onto page one, cross my fingers and hope readers will like it.

Jann: Have you ever suffered writer’s block?

Emily: Once I’m in the book, I try to write at least five pages a day—sometimes more, but occasionally, if I’m stuck, less. Yes, I do get stuck sometimes…I don’t know any writer that doesn’t. But I’ve never had a full-blown case of writer’s block (and hopefully never will), so I’m very grateful to be spared that misery. I know writers that have endured the dreaded block and sometimes it takes weeks, months or even years to get back to work. Writing is the best job in the world but there are some days when your characters simply won’t do what you they’re told! That’s when I go for a walk. I love being a writer and I can’t think of any other job that would give me so much joy…except maybe being a zookeeper for penguins. That looks like a great job too.

I love my characters and how they have grown and changed, how they have surprised and astounded me but one day, I want to expand a bit and do some other projects. Okay, I’ll admit to another guilty secret. I have a ‘fun book’. It’s a thriller, a romance, a science fiction saga and totally non-commercial as it doesn’t fit into any marketing or publishing niche. But I write in it every day and it helps me to keep the “Mrs. Jeffries Series” fresh. It lets me stretch as a writer and that’s a good thing (to paraphrase Martha Stewart). I’ve done romance, mystery and teen angst but there are always great ideas and stories out there waiting to be told. I’m hoping to be able to tell some of these tales for a long, long time.

Jann: Emily, thank you for spending time with us here on A Slice of Orange. Congratulations with your 40th book!! What an amazing achievement. Wishing you many more.


MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MIDWINTER MURDERS
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Veronica Jorge: October Featured Author

October 1, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York.

Her Work in Progress is a Young Adult Novel based on a search into her ethnic roots that explores identity, belonging, and self-discovery. Her genres of choice are historical fiction, where she always makes new discoveries, literary works because she loves beautiful writing, and children’s picture books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited.

She currently resides in Macungie, PA., but she’s still a Brooklyn girl at heart. How sweet it is!

Veronica’s story “Fiona Malone’s Fesh,” is featured in the Fall 2021 Issue of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable.

In addition to her fiction, she has a monthly column, Write from the Heart, here on A Slice of Orange where she writes about writing, life and does book reviews.

Connect with her on Facebook @VeronicaJorgeauthor


Books Reviewed by Veronica

#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

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A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

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FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

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FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

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FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

MY FRIEND JACKSON

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MY FRIEND JACKSON

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

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ONE TASTE TOO MANY

SECRET RELATIONS

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SECRET RELATIONS
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SEVERED RELATIONS

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SEVERED RELATIONS
THE RELUCTANT GROOM AND OTHER HISTORICAL STORIES

THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

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THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

THE ALLIANCE

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THE ALLIANCE

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

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THREE TREATS TOO MANY
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE

TWO BITES TOO MANY

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TWO BITES TOO MANY
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

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MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

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Get Ready for CHRISTMAS KISSES!

September 28, 2021 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as

A Brand New Holiday Collection–a 99 cent Pre-order

Heat up the holiday with ten dreamy regency rogues! Winter is a time of magic, promise, and unexpected romance. Anything could happen…and it all begins with Christmas Kisses.

The Wallflower’s Christmas Wish (Brides of Bath) by Cheryl Bolen: While painting the portrait of Sir Elvin Steffington, Bath’s most eligible bachelor, the exceedingly plain spinster Diana Furness develops a strong friendship with her subject. Could this be more than friendship? Could he ever be attracted to one as inconsequential as she?

A Kiss From a Captain (An Everly Manor Happily Ever After) by Samantha Grace: Captain Gabriel Brazier defied doctors’ predictions and learned to walk again after losing his leg in war. But the damning voice whispering no woman will find him desirable again is hard to ignore, especially when he arrives at Everly Manor to compete for the charming Lady Laurel’s heart.

A Rogue’s Christmas Kiss (The Rogue Chronicles) by Lana Williams: Mary is shaken by a letter requesting she return home for Christmas. But her world is truly upended when she reunites with a former love for the long journey. Arthur has no desire to rekindle their relationship after Mary broke his heart, but a snowstorm and some passionate kisses just might reignite their love.

’Twas the Rogue Before Christmas (The Honorable Rogues®) by Collette Cameron: Eager to leave England, American, Jason Steele can’t forget the beautiful noblewoman he saved from a foiled robbery. Determined to behave properly, Lenora Audsley can’t stop thinking about the rogue who rescued her. Can the magic of the holiday season unite these lovers who are forbidden to see each other?

Bound to the Belgian Count (London Lords) by Sasha Cottman: Abandoned bride, Lily is determined to seek an annulment. But when her absent husband Count Maximilian de Viron suddenly appears in court, the judge decides on a unique compromise. Between now and Christmas Eve, the couple must live together, share meals, and talk.

Embracing the Scandal by Barbara Monajem: Harriet is banished for her naughty behavior, and when Jonathan asks for her hand, he is told she is dead. When they meet again, can they overcome the lies and sins of the past to fall in love once again?

A Viscount for Christmas by Suzanna Medeiros: Viscount Thornton returns home for his mother’s annual Christmas party to find a beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. Neither he nor Celia are happy when her mother demands they wed. Can they escape marriage or will they both get the Christmas gift they didn’t know they wanted?

The Impetuous Heiress (The Upstart Christmas Brides) by Alina K. Field: Before dashing Lord Loughton can make amends with his neglected fiancée, the lady’s meddling cousin delivers her to his doorstep. He soon realizes more is amiss than his carelessness. Can he uncover her secrets and win her back before he loses her altogether?

A Duchess for Christmas (Forgotten Heiress) by Alanna Lucas: Grace Banks is looking forward to her first Christmas at the Home for Desolate Ladies, but Edward, Duke of Tavistock, is set upon ruining it, and the secrets keeping them apart leave little hope for reconciliation. Can the spirit of Christmas heal two wounded hearts?

Let it Snow by Heather Boyd: When the worst scoundrel in her acquaintance rescues Yvette from a winter storm, she fears a holiday spent dodging his attempts at seduction. But more than one yuletide surprise awaits as she discovers Luc is a man of surprising patience, and passion for just one woman…Yvette herself.

The Impetuous Heiress

This collection includes my story, The Impetuous Heiress. Read an excerpt at my website’s Christmas Kisses book page.

Christmas Kisses is priced at 99 cents during pre-order. Pick up your copy today!

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTT1PG8

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08MTT1PG8

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTT1PG8

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08MTT1PG8

Apple Books

https://books.apple.com/us/book/christmas-kisses/id1538877649

https://books.apple.com/gb/book/christmas-kisses/id1538877649

https://books.apple.com/ca/book/christmas-kisses/id1538877649

https://books.apple.com/au/book/christmas-kisses/id1538877649

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-kisses-cheryl-bolen/1138033752?ean=2940162733775

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/christmas-kisses-13

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/christmas-kisses-13

https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/christmas-kisses-13

https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/christmas-kisses-13

Google

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=l083EAAAQBAJ

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Old Country Welcome by Neetu

September 26, 2021 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , , ,

The sign is posted
on the porch
I've walked many times
this way before
through seasons warm and cold
but no one appears at the door.

An abandoned house that
says Welcome
must have been somebody's abode—
leaves me guessing who 
might have 
lived in a happy home

in this town where few might wander
unless they've lost their way,
no highways feed into 
these streets, just old Chevy trucks
parked by stacks of hay.

A wind chime blows with 
wind's moody strokes
each time I stroll by,
but the windows seem 
so tightly sealed,
no visitors knock to say hi.

It must have been a place of joy
for some kind-hearted folks
who lived and left
the signpost still hanging
on the porch.

© Neetu Malik


Some of Neetu’s Books

THE OCOTILLO REVIEW SUMMER 2018 VOL 2.2

THE POETIC BOND V

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THE POETIC BOND V

THE POETIC BOND VI

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THE POETIC BOND VI

THE POETIC BOND X

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THE POETIC BOND X

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