Limited Visibility

I’ve nearly completed the revision of Three Empty Frames, Book One in the Bucks County Novels. However, I may not be able to query an agent with that book. I am researching this question at the moment, but the very fact that it has been self published will most likely prevent it from being considered by an agent. I’m trying to find out if pulling the book from Amazon will negate that status.

With that in mind, I have to make some decisions. Do I revise and edit the fifth novel: Breaking Bread (still needs a new title) and query with that manuscript? Would I need to make it a stand alone story or will its status as a series book be beneficial? In other words, if the agent likes this story, will they be more likely to take a look at the previous books in the series despite their being self published? Or will an agent see ‘series’ and run screaming?

I could also resign myself to viewing these series stories as good ‘practice’ for a novice writer and just leave them as they are on Amazon. My next move would be to complete the World War One novel and query with that. After all, I have always called that the book of my heart.

I’m sort of just thinking out loud, here. Thanks for listening.


Emptying your veins onto the page.

Writing is therapy.

How much of yourself do you pour into your writing?  The answer may vary dramatically depending on the type of writing you do.  No one bares their soul in a technical manual.  But fiction writers, poets, lyricists… all inject their own joy and pain, fear and desire into their work.  The question is: what do we risk in exposing ourselves to the world?  How much do we give?  Sharing the very essence of yourself is either crazy or incredibly brave.

Part of it is about trust.  Do you trust yourself to convey those thoughts and feelings accurately?  Do you trust your readers to understand, to relate?  Because that’s kind of the point.  We are sharing.  We want it to reach someone, to entertain at a minimum, or to move the heart, stir the spirit.  This very notion gives your writing weight.  It’s a heady thing– moving a soul.  Choose carefully, the words you’re about to commit to paper.  Craft them with skill, arrange them just so.  Speak them aloud to see how they roll off the tongue.

Another part of it is honesty.  Do you share the difficult stuff, too?  The things that might make your readers cringe?  Exposing your fears, flaws, failures, and mistakes opens you up to criticism, rebuke and rejection.  And yet that cleansing, that catharsis may be just the thing you need to put out there.  Risk or not.

Consider your audience.  Who is reading your work?  Maybe you’re anonymous here on your blog.  That certainly gives you a lot of freedom to post at will.  For those of us blogging with full disclosure?  Not so much!  So what do you do if there’s something just eating away at you?

Some stories just beg to be told.  I’ve had an interesting life full of adventures and catastrophes, joys and pain.  The painful parts are the hardest to tell but they are also the stories that burn inside.  That doesn’t mean I have to write a memoir.  But I can tell a story.  Wrap a memory in the cloak of fiction and pen the narrative as if it happened to somebody else.  All the desperate hopes, crushed dreams and lost loves pour onto the page.

If you look hard enough, my writing empties my veins.  More of it flows out every day.  If you are able to separate the drops of fact from the volume of fiction, you will see the essence of me.  Go ahead and look.  I’ll leave you to decide which is which!

What do you say, writers?  Do you pour yourself out onto the page?



Turn and face the strange. Or in this case the mistakes and awkward bits of my first draft.

I've done the first reread of Breaking Bread. Next comes the rewrite in which I have two major changes. For one, I'm adding a scene I left out that will explain some of the extreme hostility of Maya's mother. That part of the conclusion is thin and it needs a few paragraphs to flesh it out.

The other change is this: Kiki Curtis-Stevens. It's not that I don't like the name, I do. But… Kiki is my niece Kathleen's nickname. Fortunately, she doesn't read my blog. I think. When I first wrote the character, 'Kiki' just popped into my head and I went with it. Honestly, I never intended to use the name all through the book, I just never came up with anything better. But I don't want the criminal to be named after my niece!

I gave Kiki the full name of Katerine, the Italian version of Katharine, so one possibility is to call her Trina Curtis-Stevens instead. That works pretty well except that it sounds very similar to Tanya. Trina and Tanya. Tanya and Trina. Close enough be confusing. So now I'm thinking about changing Tanya's name as well. I named one of their cousins Stacia and I might swap their names since the cousin has no role in the story other than being mentioned. Aren't you glad you don't have to read this story again?

Just a side note: I mentioned to a few of you that I considered an evil alternative ending:

When they discover that Tanya has been paid twenty-five thousand dollars to sabotage Maya's cafe? The financier is really Brad. An obsessed Brad who only sees the cafe as an impediment to getting what he really wants: Maya. In this scenario, Brad gets increasingly jealous and possessive which results in driving her closer to Juan Paolo and that in turn triggers violence against JP, etc, etc…  (I hadn't worked all of it out, obviously…) Any of you who read Book 2: Seeing Red will get the connection here to Brad's half brother Ethan, the football player/stalker. So I figured I already wrote that story in Seeing Red. Still, it would have been fun! And unexpected I think.

Ok, back to work…

Header Image: Ian Cleary