Friday Book Review

I will be doing Friday Book Reviews – each week I will review a book in either the Mystery or Fantasy/SciFi genre.

This week I will review Within Plain Sight by Bruce Robert Coffin

5.0 out of 5 stars 

Great addition to the series!

This is the fourth in the Detective Byron series by Bruce Robert Coffin. I have been a fan since the first book, Among the Shadows. Great characters, excellent detection, and in this new book a grisly murder, an excess of suspects and a satisfying ending that while a surprise, makes perfect sense after the fact. I would highly recommend this book, but if you haven’t read the first three, read them first so that you can appreciate the character development and growth. This is an excellent police procedural, part of an outstanding series.

Updating my website

Over the past two days, I have been working to convert my website from just a blog to more of an author platform. Believe me, it has not been easy, the behind the scenes computer stuff is not my forte. Adding posts and images are fine, but deciphering the grit was difficult, and entailed a lot of trial and error, many times of deleting it all and starting over.

In the end, I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out and I would love some feed back to let me know what you think – good, bad or indifferent. And please feel free to tell me if you see something glitchy that needs correcting!

On another note, I have started journalling. It’s not something I have ever done, not even when I was a teenybopper (dating myself there, I know). But with the current situation of a pandemic with social distancing and quarantines, I thought I would give it a try and get my thoughts and ideas done. Some of it might make its way to online posts here or into my writing.

Writing Again

Now that “every day is Saturday” and I have recovered almost 100% from my surgery in December, I find that I have the time to really concentrate on my writing. So I pulled out the three novels in process (1 mystery, 2 YA fantasies), read them and determined which to work on. The mystery is only 3 chapters in and the others are much farther along. So I am working on the fantasies.

My zombie story has 13 chapters of 25 completed and the other fantasy, which I don’t know how to characterize (a journey of discovery, maybe), has 9 of 15 chapters completed. So I have plotted out both of these books to get them completed. My goal is to finish them, at least the first draft, before we move in the spring. Both are pretty far along, so it seems possible.

Of course, I am a Pantser, not an Outliner, so my idea of plotting is to write a brief statement/paragraph as to what I want to happen in the chapter. I also have to go back and add to some of the chapters or combine two chapters into one on both books. When I wrote them originally, I determined what was in a chapter, it seems, arbitrarily. Some chapters are 4 pages long while some are 20 pages. I’m not 100% sure but chapters for YA seem shorter than in other genres, so 15 to 20 pages seems reasonable. But that is something I can do in the first editing stage.

Anyway, I am excited to be writing again!

Pen Names

I recently joined the Guppies chapter of Sister In Crime. I have always felt that I should have different pen names for different genres. And after reading the blog posts of the Guppies, that has been reinforced. I always understood that pen names help to prevent reader confusion – expecting their author’s new book to be a romance but it’s a Sci-Fi – but it also helps with Amazon’s algorithims to make sure the book is marketed correctly.

So, even though I haven’t been published yet, I did more research on names. I made some changes from what I had previously decided to do. I know it’s kind of a cart before the horse type of thing, but it does have a purpose at this point – I have been submitting short stories like crazy and when you submit them, you have to tell them what name to use, if they choose to publish.

For Mystery/Crime stories I will use SE Knight. Horror/Sci-Fi will be SJE Knight. For YA/Paranormal/Fantasy my pen name will be Syl Knight. I even submitted some literary stories and chose Suze Knight.

This is a little different than the business cards I had printed ages ago and even from the tag line on this website which says website for Syl E Knight. But each of the names are a variation of that name, so it makes sense. All are also variations of my maiden name which is what I wanted to write under, but there is already a Sylvia Knight published, so I had to get creative.

I would love some feedback on the pen names that I have chosen. Too similar? I am especially unsure about the Horror/Sci-Fi name.

After CrimeBake

I’m home now after a wonderful Crime Bake. I truly enjoyed Ann Cleeves as the Guest of Honor. She was a joy to listen to and had wonderful tidbits of advice based on hard earned knowledge and experience. Between Ann (one of my favorite Guests of Honor, second only to Craig Johnson) and the connections I made at this conference, I came away with a new enthusiasm for my writing and a determination to get it moving.

Though, to be honest, I was already enthused prior to Crime Bake because I submitted a number of short stories to a couple magazines and to Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition. And I have a few more to send to other contests or publications.

Now that I have been laid off from my full time job, I foresee having the time to concentrate on my writing. (See the silver lining around that cloud?)

As I  get more active in my writing, I expect to also start posting more comments. So expect to hear more from me soon.

At New England Crime Bake 2019

Went to two Masters classes yesterday. One by Ann Cleeves – the guest of honor this year about setting and a second by Bruce Robert Coffin about getting it real – police procedures, DNA, etc. Both were great: informative and entertaining.

Today I went to a number of panels and enjoyed them and the lunchtime interview with Ann Cleeves. I like her very much.

I really enjoyed the panel on writing a series that lasts. I picked up quite a bit that will come in handy if my Slacksville story takes off.