My Stamp of Approval (part 2)

One of the most amazing things I’ve noticed about the writing community is the way authors support one another. Of course like anything else I believe you get out of it what you put in. If you’re nasty to others you’ll get nasty right back– and you should!

With the authors I am about to introduce to you, you’ll find no nasty here. These are kind, caring, nice people who also happen to have talent galore. Their success hasn’t made them unapproachable. Quite the opposite in fact. These authors are the type of people you can see yourself having lunch with. The type who are always willing to encourage, help, or lend an ear. The type of people young writers aspire to be.

All of these authors I blog with on Prose & Cons. Allow me to repeat myself for a second here… I take my name (brand) very seriously and would never recommend a book to you unless it interests me as well.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Drum roll please…

First up, Author Arthur Kerns. Arthur Kerns is a retired FBI special agent and past president of the Arizona chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO). His award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies. In March 2013 Diversion Books, Inc. published his espionage thriller, The Riviera Contract and in May 2014 the sequel, The African Contract.

You might remember an incredible story I posted a while back from Art. It’s called A Stranger Reads My Book. If you haven’t read it, click on the title. It’s one of my favorite posts on Prose & Cons. Not only will you love this short story, you’ll wish it happened to you!

Art’s latest book is called The African Contract.


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Interview with Crime Author Joe Clifford– You don’t want to miss this one!

I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and co-author on Prose & Cons, Joe Clifford.  After you read this interview I’m sure you will agree there aren’t many authors who would have answered my tough questions with such honesty.  Joe is a rare person.  He’s talented, humble, funny, an all-around nice guy. But don’t tell him I told you, he has a rep to uphold.

As an artist, Joe explores the dark places, the uncomfortable places, the dingy bricks and concrete cracks of a cold uncaring city. He writes about the criminals and dope fiends, the dealers and the dreamers, the cops with their heels on the throat, closing in on the kill. He knows this scene well, because he once moved among them. His books, Junkie Love, Choice Cuts, and Wake The Undertaker can be found in local bookstores and online. His new thriller, Lamentation comes out October, this year.  

Create Tension and Suspense. Keep the reader flipping pages!

I just completed the first draft of my latest novel, the sequel to Timber Point.  The working title was Dancing In The Shadows.  However, after completing the novel I thought of a title that fits better:  Silent Betrayal.

I often post about what stage I’m at in the process.  Therefore, today’s post is about creating tension and suspense in your thriller.  (Or in my case, make sure it’s done correctly during editing.)  Keep readers on the edge of their seat, flipping the pages.

I came across an article about this topic.  If you haven’t read The Kill Zone blog, I highly recommend it.  These tips were posted in that blog, but I added my own flair to them.  The expository is mine to help you better understand.

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1.  Condense your setup and backstory.

Nothing is worse than reading ten pages about nothing.  All fluff.  Or hearing about the protagonist’s entire life story.  The author should know the story, but your reader doesn’t need every small detail.  However, IF parts of the backstory is relevant to the story line– keep it.  Just make it as short as possible.  Give the crucial elements your reader NEEDS to know without the fluff.  Add emotions, yes, but don’t let it lag along for pages and pages.

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Out of the Darkness– Part two

Out of the Darkness– part two

Author’s note:  When we first met Scarlet she was suicidal over losing her husband and her sight in an automobile accident, caused by a drunk driver.  She daydreamed about splaying open her wrists in a bubble bath. Her live-in nurse, Evaughn, jarred her awake and announced that she had something special planned for Scarlet:  a walk through her rural neighborhood– alone.  Reluctant, Scarlet agreed.   She ambled down the road– her walking cane tapping side-to-side in front of her– and her mind wandered.  When she snapped out of her reverie her surroundings had changed.
This is where we begin part two, with Scarlet’s nerves jumping like hot oil in a cast iron skillet.  Alone and terrified.

Out of the Darkness

Part 2

Something was different.  I couldn’t hear the dog barking anymore.  The children’s voices trailed around the corner and vanished like vapor.  There were no familiar sounds.  The sun faded.  And a coolness chilled my bare arms, sheathing my skin in goosebumps.

I must have wandered off the road somehow.


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Interview with Cat Burglar, Shawny Daniels

I am pleased to have with us today Shawny Daniels from Timber Point.  To give you a little background about Shawny, she is my protagonist (and friend) from Timber Point, Dancing In The Shadows and Mad Rush (book two and three are still WIPs)

Me:  Hello, Shawny, it’s nice to have you here with us today.

Shawny:  Thanks, Sue.  Nice to be here.

Me:  I’m sure everyone is wondering how it feels to be a cat burglar.  Can you first tell us a little bit about how you got into that trade?

Shawny:  Sure.  When I was fourteen I fled an abusive foster care family and took to the streets of Massachusetts’ North Shore.  There I met Bo, an aging cat burglar with severe arthritis in his knees.  He took me under his wing and taught me the tricks of the trade.  And he never asked for anything in return, unlike my former foster parents.

Me:  What exactly did he teach you?

Shawny:  Oh, yah know, like how to gain entry through a second floor window; how to move stealth-like so I didn’t get bagged by the cops.  Stuff like that.  First, though, he put me through rigorous training.  Man, he was a hard ass when it came to working out.

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Top 5 Tips for Researching Your Fiction Novel

I write a lot of my posts according to what I am working on at the time.  Right now I am researching a subject for my sequel’s underlying plot.  I can’t reveal that subject, but it’s AWESOME!  :)

Research is extremely time-consuming but well worth the effort.  After all, you never want to get your facts wrong, even with fiction.


Here are my top 5 tips for researching your novel…

1.  You will inevitably gather loads of interesting facts about the subject you are researching.  Do not use everything you’ve learned.  No reader wants an information dump that shows how much you’ve learned, or how smart you are by using the new jargon.  Include only the most interesting or necessary facts, those elements that will drive your story forward.  And do not allow the research to lead YOU.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the knowledge we’ve gained it’s easy to veer off course.  You are the author!  YOU control where the story goes, not the research.  The story must come first.  Be true to it.

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Showing structuring: scene, sequel, and MRUs in a novel

So many people enjoyed my recent post, The Importance of MRUs that I thought I’d show you large-and-small-scale structuring of a scene and sequel using MRUs.  Actually, I got the most followers from that post.  Yay, me! :)

I’ve often found that things are easier to learn when you see them practiced.  That’s why I think this post will really help some of you who didn’t totally grasp my earlier one.

For this example, I’ll use parenthesis to show you the elements of scene and sequel.  Then I’ll show you the Motivation-Reactions-Units like this:  [M]=Motivation [R]=Reaction.

Okay?  Got it?  Good.  Let’s begin.

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