Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The “Next Big Thing” blog hop

This idea of linking together authors and asking the same questions about their current works-in-progress (WIP) sounded like a lot of fun.

I was asked by two authors on the same day, so I’m tagged from the first e-mail I received – Keith Pyeatt ( But also go see Kris Neri (

These are the rules/questions:
Rule details:
  • Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)
  • Tag five (or fewer) other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
It’s that simple.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?

Gee, I feel like a slacker because I don’t have one.  Me and titles – we’re complicated.  I tend to brainstorm titles at the last minute.  I’m calling the project WitchDuck as I work on it.  That’s where the kernel of the idea started…which leads me to the next question.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

There is a road in Virginia Beach called Witchduck Road; I hear it referenced in the traffic reports in the mornings.  The name intrigued me. I did some Goggling and found it refers to Grace Sherwood who was the only Virginian to be convicted of witchcraft. 
Back in 1706, Grace was tested for innocence by being dunked (or ducked as they said back then) into a pond to see if she would float.  Float = guilty of witchcraft.  Sinking below the surface of the water = innocence (but too bad because you would probably drown).  Grace floated.

The witch trials and accusers went after people who were different.  Three hundred years later, people who seem different are still persecuted in one way or another.  Even towns that refuse to accept the influx of sameness from the big box and chain stores, restaurants, hotels, and office parks lose tax money and traffic from the hordes of people who crave the numbing sense of sameness.

Each town seems to have a Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Home Depot with an Appleby’s and Olive Garden at the edge of the parking lots.  Sometimes I have no idea which town I’m in. I’m a big supporter of local independent businesses.
The idea was born to construct characters who are chastised for not fitting in. They lose things important to them because they do not comply. I’m using an ancestor in the 1700s accused of witchcraft to parallel the lives of her contemporary descendents.

What genre does your book fall under?
Good question…I would probably set it as historical or maybe a mystery since the main plot is a cross-generational mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I list these like I have thought about it.  But, I’m trying to list people I like and who seem to have some of the character’s personality.  I don’t keep up with pop culture, so my answers may be a bit dated – hopefully these actors are still working.

  • Anna (the witch): Michelle Pfeiffer or Julianne Moore
  • Taliesin:  James Franco
  • Cliodhna:  Reese Witherspoon (love her because she reminds me of my niece Whitney)
  • Brigid:  Kirsten Dunst (love her because she reminds me of my niece Courtney)
  • Finn:  Colin Farrell (had a drink with him in Jerome, Arizona – he doesn’t know that since we were ten feet away from each other)
  • Granny:  Shirley Maclaine or Frances Fisher

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (Really it is three sentences – I can’t comply)
Struggling musician Taliesin searches for the reasons his father vanished one night 26 years ago. The disappearance leads Taliesin and his cousins to discover parallels between themselves and their ancestors of over 300 years before. As it was then, and now, being an outsider can be murder.

Will your book be self-published, sent to an independent publisher, or represented by an agency to a large house?
I plan to have this published through Cherokee McGhee as were the last two books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hmmm, still haven’t finished the draft.  Once that’s done, I can have it ready for an editor in about five months. After that, it takes about a year to hit the shelves.  2014??

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There are no other books like this one!!  It has bits of family saga, history, mystery, and mythology.  I think I aspire to be a mix of Lee Smith, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Tony Hillerman.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
People who know me and my family will see the Lillys here: my father, uncles and aunt, along with my grandparents.  I get a lot of inspiration from family history.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
If a reader knows Irish mythology, there will be multiple layers revealed in the symbolism. If you don’t then it will just be a damn good story – that may spur you to dig deeper into the tales and legends of our ancestors before us.

The following writers will pick up "The Next Big Thing" thread and answer the 10 questions about their WIP.  Go ahead and visit them today to learn a little more about the writers and their work.
They will post next Wednesday, December 5, about their Next Big Thing.

Tag – you’re next week’s posts:

Narielle Living
Narielle Living is the author of the novel Signs of the South, a novella in the collection Chesapeake Bay Christmas, and the upcoming novel Past Unfinished.


Michelle Moore
Michelle Moore is a North Carolina writer inspired by quirky characters; she has written of cats and criminals with a work in progress set in the Great Dismal Swamp.

William Torgerson
William J. Torgerson is an assistant professor in the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John's University in New York. In addition to novels and screenplays, William writes short stories and articles on teaching and writing.

John Bray
John Bray is a retired attorney, member of Chesapeake Bay Writers, author of THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY MADIGAN, THE CONFIDENTIAL and CODE NAME: CALEB, the sequel to Johnny Madigan, all published by BeWrite Books.
Work-in-progress working title, OPERATION REBOUND, sequel to Confidential.


Pamela K. Kinney
Journey to worlds of fantasy, beyond the stars, and into the vortex of terror with the written word of Pamela K. Kinney.
Website: Blog:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Coming: Next Big Thing Wednesday

Cool idea among writers on the Web: Start with ten questions about the current Work-in-Progress (WIP), answer them and tag a few writers to do the same thing on their own blog.

This past Wednesday, Keith Pyeatt blogged about his WIP  at and tagged me for this Wednesday. Scoot over to Keith's Blog to read about his upcoming release.

Stay tuned (as they used to say on Batman) for this Wednesday and discover details about my new book. Plus, see who I tagged to carry forward the questions.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Can you hear me now? -- Audio book production

I’m in the process of reviewing the audio book recording of my first Derek Mason Mystery: FINGERING THE FAMILY JEWELS. It’s been a long time since I reread the book. I’m doing it now as I listen to the production, chapter by chapter.

Well, honestly, I guess I’m reading along with the narrator Andy Babinski (great voice). I check to make sure Andy gets the pronunciation right on some of the Charlotte, N.C. location names and to make sure I didn’t have some huge error in the book that gets put in the audio version. I know the paperback is a little different than the eBook – words here and there, nothing big – and the audio is too. Some things read differently than they sound when spoken out loud.

How do you get an audio book made?
  • First write and publish a book. Make sure you keep the audio rights.
  • Secondly, sell a lot of copies of the book.
  • Third, post the rights on That’s Audiobook Creation Exchange. There are some ties to Audible and to Amazon.

ACX matches up authors with voice talent to produce an audio book. I had a few of auditions from narrators for FTFJ, but they didn’t capture my idea of what Derek would sound like. 

Searching through the database of voice talent, I found samples of Andy’s work. His voice matched what I had always thought Derek sounded like. I sent Andy a sample of the book, and he took on the project.

I feel lucky to have found ACX and Andy Babinski.

The cool thing I’m discovering is that the chapters are averaging about 16 – 19 minutes each. Perfect for a daily commute or exercising at the gym.

The production will be finished and available on by mid-December – just in time for a Holiday download! Get your ears ready for an aural delight!