Category Archives: Mystery

Working on the words

I’m trying to get the first draft finished for my New Adult paranormal book.I’m a little under 34,ooo words to far.

I managed just over 700 words Thursday night while I was waiting for the Sisters in Crime meeting to get started, and hit the library this afternoon to do some more. Got a total of 1748 words yesterday and today, which is well below my target. Oh well, at least  got something written.


Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, occult, paranormal, Writing

Amazon Campaign

Decided to give the Amazon Marketing Service a try and see what happens. My campaign is set to run from the 5th to the 8th. I’ve set my budget at a whopping $5 per day. Wonder if it will be worth it?  LOL I’m running it on book 2. Fingers crossed someone bites. One per day will at least cover the budget. 😀

duchess cover sm


Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Waiting for retirement

Just a little over a month left before my semi-retirement starts. Day one I’ll be taking my car in for a little body work, so I’ll have a rental for three days. broken carI’m going to miss the purple and black duct tape on the driver’s side mirror. I still don’t know what’s happening with me going part-time at my current place of employment, but the plan is to work Tues, Wed & Thurs. I’ll have lots to keep me busy over my 4 day weekends.

I haKids-writing-clipart-2ve two books in progress and another ready to come off the shelf after a few years of collecting computer dust. Also have a couple of adventure short stories in my head (maybe novellas). Still mulling over how to handle them. And yes, I write before typing.

Then there’s the magazine that the writing group I belong to is planning on starting once we get the ‘official’ go-ahead. First issue February 2017 – online and a few print copies.

Maybe I’ll find time to get back into my genealogy and relax and do some cross-stitching. I used to stitch pretty much constantly several years ago, before I got into stitch-clipart-crossstitchgenealogy, then writing.

I still have two more courses to take at the U of T, one of which I might be starting in September. It’s either then or January, and since that one is on campus, I think I’d rather travel in the fall then the first few months of the year as the weather is geneschoolrally worse then. The last course is the ‘final project’ which I’m thinking will be that book that’s been gathering computer dust. It’s based on a story I dug up doing some genealogy.


Oh, I forgot that I have notes for yet another one. I have about 12k words typed up I believe.

Hurry up October!



Filed under Genealogy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Update on latest book

Been busy with courses so I haven’t done a lot on this one. One of the courses was historical fiction, so I started on book three of the Hodgins series. Barely started. About a chapter and a half. Getting back to the New Adult book now. It takes a lot of research to make it believable.

I’ve just barely passed the half way mark of the first draft. It feels like it will be a bit of a cross-over between the whole witch-thing and a mystery. As I said in my earlier post, Marcy, the main character, has decided to learn the family craft that she abandoned in her early teens. She didn’t take well to being called a freak by her so-called friends. With the addition of trying not to be killed by an unknown and basically invisible man (witch/warlock?) she also needs to find out what happened to her grandmother’s baby brother. He disappeared when he was seven and Granny and her sister were never told what happened to him.

Going over the timeline I realize that I need to add a few chapters. I have her going to England but she’s only there for three days. Need to stretch that out to at least a week, maybe longer if I can. I’ve done a bit of digging and think I know what I’ll fill the time with. Hopefully it’s not boring as she will be learning a lot. Somewhat of a history lesson for her, so I’ll need to add some humour to it.

I’ve added a new chapter at the beginning and I’ll try to get a chapter or two done by the end of the week  –  Fingers crossed.

elven star

Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery, occult, Writing

Writing And Selling Your Mystery Novel

Almost finished reading Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, by Hallie Ephron. Wonderful resource regardless of the genre you write in. Yes, some chapters are mostly for mysteries, but a very large portion of the book is general. There are chapters on POV, story line, editing, planning, revising, and selling. Each chapter starts with a quote from a famous author and there are lots of examples pulled from works of fiction.

She talks about how to end one chapter and start the next. Do you use a cliff hanger or not? She covers that. Hallie also goes over characters, from naming them to analyzing them and how to portray them on paper. Each chapter has exercises you can do or not. Your choice.

At the back is an appendix listing organizations, mystery conferences, contests, guidebooks, and more. This is one of the sections geared for the mystery writer.

Regardless of the genre you prefer to write in, if you are looking for a book with good information and an easy read, check this one out. It’s currently on sale on the Writer’s Digest Shop at


Happy writing.

1 Comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Writing

To Beta or Not to Beta

Last week I used a beta reader for the first time. Based on internet research, I was under the impression that beta’s were either free or very reasonable. Maybe $20 or a free copy of the book once published. Something along those lines. Beta buyer beware.

I posted on Goodreads looking for a beta. Someone contacted me. Since he indicated he is a freelance writer and editor, I emailed back asking if he was volunteering to beta read or offering his services. (Volunteer: a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. ) He said beta read, then quoted a cost which I wrongly assumed was his normal editing fee. (50 cents per 300 words). So, my search for a volunteer beta reader, with the current exchange rate, will cost me about $87.

What did I get for $87? About 6 comments in an email. Was it worth it? I’d say NO WAY JOSÉ. Huge mis-communication. He’s not trying to pull one over on me, it just wasn’t clear to me that I would be billed in the end.

This has totally put me off ever looking for a beta reader again. Lesson learned? Make sure everything is spelled out down to the tiniest detail before you engage a beta. Ask every question imaginable, then ask a few more.



Filed under Mystery, Writing


A week ago Sunday (the 14th), I participated in Bookfest at one of the Vaughan libraries. It was the second year for Bookfest, the first for me. I set my goal to sell a whopping 1 book.  I sold 2.  Woo Hoo. The first was to a lad about 10 who said he wanted something to read at camp. The second was to the library. One of the ladies came around towards the end looking for copies of the books that were not already in their system.  Hopefully people check it out and talk about it.

Still have to visit some of the libraries a little closer to  home to see if they are interested in purchasing a copy. Since part of the book takes place in Stouffville, I’m hoping that their library will be happy to get a copy. 😀

Couldn’t make my rounds this weekend as I was at the Ontario Archives most of the day on Saturday, but Sunday I did manage to hide at the library for a couple of hours to edit book two.

So much to do and so little time. Oh, I still have to finish the index for the Mount Albert Cemetery transcript.



Filed under Genealogy, Mystery, Writing

University of Toronto, Creative Writing Certificate

Last year I finished up the Creative Writing Certificate online through the University of Calgary.  The instructors were great. Looking at their other writing certificates, I realized that with only three more courses I could also get the Marketing and Public Relations certificate. I’m just working on the last one now.

Glutton for punishment that I am, I discovered on Friday that the University of Toronto also has a Creative Writing Certificate that can mostly be done online.  All, depending on the courses. While I totally enjoyed the U of C program, Toronto seems to have quite a few course options that Calgary doesn’t offer.  I registered for one of the courses, starting in January 2016.  Might actually take one earlier as I’ll be finished the current program in June.

Some of the options I can pick from at Toronto include Comic and Graphic Novels, Dark Fantasy (possibility), Historical Fiction (have to take that one), Mystery and Suspense Writing (another on my list). While Calgary has a Novel course, which I took, Toronto also has an advanced level for the Novel. You can also take screenwriting, or playwriting, as well as writing for TV.

As I said, the instructors at U of C are great, but it looks like U of T has so many more options to pick from. I think I will probably end up taking more than the required courses as there are just too many I’m interested in. They have a freelance program too.

University of Toronto, online Creative Writing

University of Toronto, Freelance Writing

U of T

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Writing

Extra time to kill – sorta literally

For the past couple of weeks I’ve actually been in a position where I’ve been able to write quite a bit. Generally, I write in the evening or weekend in front of the TV. And not every day. Shameful, I know. I’ve managed to go from about 30% to over 60% the way through the second Detective Hodgins book. I actually started this one last year as part of an assignment for the writing courses I was taking. That 30% (less actually) sat for a long time. I’ve added to it a bit over the past couple of months, but in just two weeks I’ve doubled it. Part of that time has been spent doing research, not just putting ink to paper.

index No, I don’t outline and do all my research before writing. I’m one of those people, as I’ve mentioned before. I have a general idea of where I’m going, but that’s about all. It was only late last month that I decided who the killer was and why. You’d think I’d know that before starting, but no. I had one person in mind, but thought it was too obvious.

And in reference to the earlier comment about putting ink to paper, yes that’s what I do. I have a small notebook from Dollarama. It’s got a cute little kitten on it. I write, then type, write, then type. I’m doing my best not to edit as I go. That’s what I did for the first book, and it really slowed me down. I’m printing out the typed pages (double spaced of course), and putting them in a cheap binder. Just love Dollarama! I’ll admit to having a few marks on the pages, but not from editing. Just things I thought of to fix or add. I’ve even got a few things highlighted on the actual Word document that need a big re-think due mainly to being awkward.

OK, I guess my little break is over. I need to get the last 11k or so written so my wonderful editor can add her comments.

author at work

1 Comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Death on Duchess Street

Been having some down-time at work lately. It’s rather boring, but the good thing is it gave me time to write. I’ve managed to get almost half way through the first draft of book two in the Detective Hodgins Murder Mystery series. A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany and figured out who the killer is. It’s always nice for the author to know that.

Unlike other writers, I don’t outline to death (no pun intended). I have a general idea and go with it. I figure things out along the way. That makes me a ‘pantser’. Sometimes my research leads me on a specific path. Other times I have to determine which path to take. I hope the route this one is going satisfies my readers.

I need to get the first draft done and go over it at least once, (or twice) then send it off to my editor. I’ll be at Word on the Street in Toronto on September 27, 2015. I’d like to be able to have two books to sell instead of just the one. With any luck I’ll build my readership at that event. That means having it written, edited, revised and off to the printers by the middle of August at the latest.

Now all I have to do is get through the first draft.

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing