Are you an old movie mystery fan? You know, black and white. Real Whodunnits with Noir and tough sounding dialogue mixed with the comedy of yesteryear?

I bought all of the Thin Man movies and got a Blu Ray player last Christmas to watch them and my Charlie Chan Collection.

BUT IF YOU HAVE ROKU on your TV I recommend the Free Channel you can add called TV TIME COZY MYSTERIES. It has all six of the Thin Man Movies and no commercials.

There are many other old Mystery Series available too. Think Charlie Chan, Torchy Blane, The Lone Wolf, The Shadow, Agatha Christie (with all Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple Movies), Boston Blackie. Bulldog Drummond, Dick Tracy, Ellery Queen, The Falcon, Mr. Moto, Nancy Drew, and a few others.

I’ve found some of the above free on YouTube, but this channel has pretty much the whole series on each of them. The caveat? There are some commercials, but there are some with no commercials too. Most are 1-2 minutes between breaks.

Many newer TV’s have the Roku app built in, but if yours doesn’t you can always buy the Roku Streamng media player and remote for $40 at Best Buy. For $10 more you can upgrade to a voice activated media player.

There are tons of free channel apps and many have old mystery channels, but none as good as TV Time’s. Search for the channel and add it to your ROKU lineup and you are ready to go.

Organic Books at Nob Hill in Albuquerque, NM

The question for many readers today, is how do I get a print book in my hands with all of the bookstores closed? Okay, some may be open, but which ones, and where, and how do I know if they are open or closed?

There are a few options here, if you don’t want to guess. You can go to Amazon and find print books but what if you want to support your local bookstore?

Well now there there are more websites dedicated to Independent bookstores and you can buy your books from them online.

For example, you can go to https://www.biblio.com and search for you local bookstore. Many Independents can be found there, maybe the ones in your town. Although, this one is suggested by Organic Books in my home town, it seems a little clunky to use. There is not an obvious store locator. You have to Click on Bookstores on the menu under the logo and enter the name or zip code. The zip pulled up most of the stores in Albuquerque, but there was no map and the overall viewing experience leaves a lot to be desired.

Treasure Books and Gifts in Old Town, Albuquerque, NM

A better Indie Book store finder is Indie bound dot org: https://www.indiebound.org/indie-bookstore-finder
It lets you put your zip code in and shows you all of the participating Independent bookstores in a 10, 50, or 100 mile radius. In my city of Albuquerque, NM, I found five of the seven local bookstores and two college bookstores listed, Including Organic Books, and Treasure Books, which both carry my books. But it also listed half a dozen quasi media sites that are not actually bookstores

Bookshop dot org is another good Indie Bookstore referral website: https://bookshop.org/pages/store_locator
It also lets you input your zip code and has a default 15-mile range, which allows 50, 250 and 1000 mile ranges. It has a map and lists only bookstores (five in my town) but it doesn’t include the college bookstores in Albuquerque or any of the quasi/not really bookstore sites as listed on Indie Bound.

So there’s no excuse for not supporting your local bookstore during the Coronavirus epidemic. What are you waiting for? It’s not like you don’t have any time to read. This period may be the most productive time in your reading career. —Don Weston, author of Four Billie Bly P.I. Series Print Books and eight short e-books on Amazon at Author Central: https://amzn.to/2qtcy9T

What Readers Look For In A First Chapter

Posted: December 26, 2019 in Uncategorized
Good Writing makes books come alive

My first writing instructor taught us how to begin a book and this lesson has been instrumental in my technique as a writer. I don’t know how many times I’ve referred this First Chapter outline/checklist to budding writers who can’t seem to get traction in their career.

I doubt readers need to rely on this knowledge because they usually go by what they like. However, I’ll bet they would agree with most of the following points I’ve laid out here. Or maybe it would be enlightening to understand what hooks them in a story.

So, I’m going to pass the baton to Dee Lopez, who taught Novel Writing for many years at Mt. Hood Community College in Portland, Oregon. It it weren’t for her, I’d still be writing goofy but humorous short stories.

After putting up with me for a term, she pulled me aside and said, “Don’t you think it’s about time you tried writing a novel?” And for that, Dee, you deserve my everlasting thanks.

THE FIRST CHAPTER By Dee Lopez

Object: So the reader will continue reading.

1. Start at point of impact for the main character.

2. By dialogue, action, or appropriate setting, grab the reader’s attention in the first paragraph.

3. Establish the type of novel–comedy, mystery, romance, etc.

4. Establish time period.

5. Establish setting–location, terrain, time of day, etc.

6. Establish point of view. (Do we quickly get into one POV?)

7. Set the mood (tone)–mysterious, romantic, etc.

8. Introduce the protagonist with essential information–sex, age, basic physical description, background, and the situation he finds himself in at the beginning of the book.

9. Introduce one or more secondary characters, as appropriate.

10. Strive for fresh, exciting writing!

General Comments:

1. Keep in mind the theme (moral, premise) of your story.

2. Don’t forget the important rule of “writing from the senses” (visual, hearing, smell, taste, touch, feel and feeling). Rule of thumb–one appeal to senses per page.

3. A novel must be logical and credible within its own context.

4. Creation of mood is important. (It’s not fair to fool Mother Nature–or the reader. Don’t let him think it’s a mystery, when in reality, it is a historical romance.)

5. Emotional hook is important, i.e., “I just couldn’t put your book down once I started it.”

6. After each chapter, ask: 1. Does it have clarity? 2. Does it say what I intended it to say?

These are basic tenants, but a good checklist to follow if you feel you aren’t getting the response from readers you expect. It may also help readers understand what’s missing from the book they are reading and assist them in writing reviews.

Authors, Keep Writing and Readers, Please keep Reading.

I Still Love a Mystery

Posted: November 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

Mysteries at Your Command

I’ve decided the renew my blog here because the one on my webpage was limited in the readers who could see it. Worldpress will send it out to my Amazon Author Webpage, Facebook and Twitter.

I want to make it more reader centric as opposed to articles which talked about writing and gave writing tips. I will still do that but it will be something book enthusiasts might enjoy too.

The picture above is one of the images I considered using for my latest book “The P.I. Who met a Ghost.” I really should have used it as I feel it makes the cover bolder than the wispy ghost I used.

You can judge for yourself, if you like. I’m making it available here for free HERE.

 

The one on the left is the cover I chose. Did I make a mistake? Since the ghosts seemed more appropriate to the story I went with it. You can leave a comment with your pick at the bottom or read it first and decide.

Be sure and subscribe to this blog to keep up on book reviews, where to find more free books, and keep track of my upcoming books and sign up for my newsletter if you download the book.

Halloween is coming up and that means P.

Posted: October 1, 2019 in Uncategorized

Halloween is coming up and that means P.I. Billie Bly has a new case to tackle: Ghosts or something more sinister?

Halloween is coming and you know what th

Posted: September 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

Halloween is coming and you know what that means. P.I. Billie Bly is about to take another case. Ghosts or more sinister? You be the judge. Its coming soon Watch for it. #Halloweenmystery #Ghoststory #mysteryjunkie

Make It The Best You Can

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have often heard from agents and others that writers should make sure their manuscript should be the best you can make it before you submit it to an agent or editor.

I also once talked with Phillip Margolin, a Portland author of legal thrillers, and his take is it takes about 250,000 written words before you will get published.

I have just achieved the 250,000 word mark–that’s about three mystery novels– and surprise my first published book, “Bleeding Blue,” is now available.In fact my book launch is this Tuesday, April 23rd,  7 p.m. at Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont, in Portland.

For information on my Book Launch Click Here

So how good was my first and second effort? I don’t think it was as good as I could have made it before I sent it out to agents. But my effort with my current book has been a wakeup call for me. After several revisions on the computer, I thought I was ready. Then I had a brainstorm. I emailed it in Kindle format to my Kindle and read it again as you would a proof.

Aggghhh. It was filled with mistakes that I hadn’t noted on my computer. It was filled with mistakes I missed when I printed it out on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. It was filled with mistakes a friend of mine missed when reading it. Make that two friends. So I read it again. A few more mistakes. So I edited it again, a few mistakes mostly me being picky with word choice. I reread it a third time when I got the proof copy. Shit, still a few mistakes. Finally I was satisfied.

Now I’m pretty good at finding mistakes when I read a book, and it is rare that I find one in a commercially published book, but they are at there. One book I read (that was sold by an agent to a reputable publishing house) used quotes inside of commas and periods when the opposite is correct–all through the book. Publishers are cutting costs these days and editing appears to be one of them for midlist authors.

Anyway, looking back at all the times I sent out manuscripts, I realized they were not as good as I could have made them. I also experienced first hand what I’ve heard other authors say: “I’m sick of this damn book.” As far as writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, and finding continuity mistakes right up through the final edit–I think I am sick of reading it too. When this happens, you simply put the book down for a while and pick it up in a few months with a fresh eye.

All of these writerly advice sayings make sense for me now. I’ve heard such things all my life, but never given them much thought.

But this book has been a good experience for me. From now on I will work harder and I have developed more tools that will ensure a better product in the future. Yes, I have learned some good lessons over the past 250,000 words, and I’m sure I will learn some more wonderful lessons over the next 250,000 words.

As long as I keep writing, I can only become a better writer.

Note: The software program I used to convert my text to mobipocket for Kindle is called Jutoh–it costs $39.00. It also converts epub and other formats. I just use it to convert to mobi and attach it to an email I send to my Kindle email address. Then I can highlight and make notes of mistakes and other changes.

My new book is available in print and for ebooks at Amazon,Nook, Sony Reader, Ipad and other outlets. You may even find it in a Portland bookstore in a few weeks .

Here is the link  again for the print and ebook version.

Workshop Helps Writers Create Memorable Characters

Posted: February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

I ran across this workshop for writers and thought it might be of interest to some. It’s sponsored by Oregon Writer’s Colony, which continually offers great content at modest prices for Oregon Writers.

 

 Creating Dynamic Story People

 

On March 9th, Portland author and writing teacher Lori L. Lake will present the 8-hour workshop on Creating Dynamic Story. Using discussion and writing exercises, Lake will help both new and seasoned writers or aspiring to delve deeper into character.

 

The Oregon Writers Colony workshop, Creating Dynamic Story People, will help writers take their characters to new levels by explaining critical character development and characterization techniques. Characters are at the heart of all-compelling fiction. Commercial fiction, short stories, or the Great American Novel – they all have at their heart at least one character who touches readers in unexpected ways.

 

Lake is the author of two short story collections and ten novels, including four books in The Gun Series and two in the recently launched Public Eye Mystery Series. Her crime fiction stories have been featured in anthologies such as “Silence of the Loons,” “Once Upon A Crime,” “Women of the Mean Streets,” and “Writes of Spring.” Lori taught fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis for seven years, and she has presented workshops and classes at numerous conferences and writers’ gatherings.

 

Creating Dynamic Story People will be held on Saturday March 9th 2013 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR. Pre-registration is required. Cost is $95 for OWC members and $135 for non-members (includes a one-year membership). For more information or to register, got the OWC website: www.oregonwriterscolony.org or contact OWC volunteer Cindy Brown at friendlybrown@gmail.com.

 

About Oregon Writers Colony: Oregon Writers Colony, a 501c3 non-profit organization, offers support to writers in all stages of their writing careers, from novices to published authors. Members benefit from classes, inspiration from teachers and colleagues, and access to the Colonyhouse, a writing retreat on the Oregon coast. www.oregonwriterscolony.org

 

Well, My Book is actually on Nook and Kindle at the moment

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

My new book, Bleeding Bly is now available on the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble E-Bookstore via the Nook application.

Here’s the Link for Bleeding Blue on Nook.

And Here is the link for Bleeding Blue on Amazon.  Check it out and be sure to write a review for future readers.

I thought it would be available everywhere, but I guess I have a few things to learn about the publishing business.

Bleeding Blue Better

Click The book to see it on Amazon

My publisher started the electronic publishing now because apparently it can take up to several months for some of the electronic publishers to actually publish their catalog. My print version is due sometime in March or April.

Ipad, for instance, apparently is short-staffed in its publishing department for I-books (See Holy Crap! below)  and although it has a tremendous upside, it only has 200,000 book titles available at the moment.

Other Reading services apparently also are experiencing growing pains and can take a few weeks to upload books.

This is all the result of the ever-changing world of electronic publishing. Each day there are more businesses wanting to get in on it because of the success of Amazon’s Kindle. Ipad, for instance, has recently begun touting its newest Ipad as a reading machine. However, if you try and access their format without an Ipad Reading Application, it can be difficult to search for a book.

Apple sends you through a maze of Itunes, Ibooks, and Education formats and the whole thing is confusing enough that you may just head back to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also, for a new author to become published, you must go through an application process.

Once the application is accepted, the publisher may have to wait up to four months for approval. FOUR MONTHS! HOLY CRAP! Yes because at this point, the book has not even been submitted.

Other distributors are a little less cumbersome, but can still take a few weeks. Kobos distributes to independent Booksellers like Powell’s here in Portland, and Baker and Taylor distributes to over 36,000 libraries, retailers in more than 120 countries.

Ebook Pie, which I’ve never heard of before, has 300,000 online titles, gives you an idea how behind the curve Apple is.

I’m sure things will improve soon, but until then you may have to wait a bit longer to get that next best seller.

It’s official, I am a published Author!

Coming from a family of cops, when people close to her start dying, Billie Bly realizes that, she too, bleeds blue.
My New Book

My publisher surprised me by getting my new book, Bleeding Blue, online in time to take advantage of the after Christmas new e-reader and Ipad audience looking for a good read.

The print version is due out in mid-to late March and I will have a Launch party for my friends and the public with a reading and signing of purchased books. Its been a long time coming and I have a hard time believing it’s happening.

You can download and read Bleeding Blue from Amazon if you have a Kindle or PC or Smart Phone  and Tablets, just follow the red links if you need to download the software to read books.

You can also download my book on your Ipad, Sony Reader, Nook or other platforms by searching for the title or by going to Smashwords.

As a teaser to new fans, I am offering my short story free again, with the hopes people will read it and want to purchase Bleeding Blue for $7.99.

Check out Billie Bly in my short story, Death Fits Like a Glove free Dec. 28-30th on Amazon.

It has gotten several Five Star Reviews. One person told me she couldn’t go to sleep after reading it, because if was so suspenseful.

Here’s the Dust jacket info on Bleeding Blue:

P.I. Billie Bly’s physic tells her she will stumble upon a murder, but neglects to mention she is to be the victim. Maybe her psychic doesn’t want to give her more to worry about with a million dollar lawsuit looming and a missing client who doesn’t want to be found.

She is determined to learn who wants her dead and why as people start dying around her. The trail leads deep inside Portland’s City Hall and involves a mayor who wants to be governor at any cost; his mistress, who wants to tag along with or without her city auditor husband; a city commissioner who hires a P.I. to spy on Billie; and an ambitious cop lurking in the background waiting for his opportunity for advancement.

The pressure mounts as the Mayor attempts to put Billie under house arrest for her own good; and an assassin tries to kill her in a drive-by shooting, narrowly misses blowing her up with her car and garage, and kills a chief witness at the Portland Pirate Festival.

When the cops start a manhunt for Billie’s former partner, whom she still has a crush on, as their main suspect, she decides one of them must die to unravel the truth.

Will her psychic prove to be right after all, or will Billie finally flush out the killer responsible for the murders of four people? It comes down to a late-night shootout with a vicious killer on a Portland riverfront to learn why she must die.