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: or contact OWC volunteer Cindy Brown at


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.


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.

My Billie Bly Short Story proves popular on Kindle

Posted: November 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Over 250 people took advantage of my free download of  Death Fits Like A Glove over the last weekend and 25 of those came from Great Britain. I also had downloads from Denmark and France.

To celebrate, I’ve lowered the price to 99 cents(from the original price of $2.99) to keep the momentum going. If you read the story–and several of you have– pass the word on to your friends and suggest they check it out. I have talked with several people who were enthralled with the story and the dramatic ending, who have already suggested their friends buy it. And several people have purchased it since the promotion ended.

I also have submitted it to Kindle Singles as a short story to be featured in their Singles program. The difference between my putting it on Kindle, and Amazon adopting it is that they will push it on their promotions and make it easier to see for those browsing for a good read. They also pay me more than I’d be making now for each sale. If accepted, likely the price would go up to $1.99, but I don’t want to go there yet. Lets see what happens.

It takes up to 30 days for Amazon to review a submission and make a decision, much like a magazine publisher. Since it already has been turned down by Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines (their loss) I’m not going to be devastated if Amazon turns me down, but I DO have a positive vibe about it. I think its good, but the national magazines only have so much space and they receive hundreds of submissions a week.

So tell your friends to buy it now on Kindle while the price is reduced and before it goes up again if Amazon wants to add it to their periodical section.  Links for Death Fits Like A Glove are listed in the post below.

Billie Bly Debuts on Amazon Kindle

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Be sure and check out the début of Billie Bly as she tangles with people stealing pets in her neighborhood and winds up tangling with a vicious killer. You can Read this short story free this weekend (Nov.18 and 19th) through Monday.

The Cover for My Short Story

Billie is used to dealing with people, not dogs, and although she has a good plan for catching some dognappers who are stealing and selling neighborhood pets, she is at first stymied by thieves who are street smart in a different way.

When a cute red-headed boy offers to help her, she can’t turn him down. But this boy begins to display behavior traits that portray a possible serial killer in the making. Now she has two problems: how to catch the pet thieves and save this boy from a fate worse than death.

Unfortunately, her good intentions place her in the path of Death That Fits Like A Glove.

The Good News:  This is a prequel short story to Bleeding Blue, my first book to be published soon. That’s right, I found a publisher.  Details are still being worked out, but I will let you know when things become clearer.

You can read my story this Saturday and Sunday by searching and downloading it on your kindle or by going to this link on Amazon:  DeathFitsLikeAGlove

If you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read my short story free on your PC by downloading a computer app,


You will have to give a credit card number, but you don’t have to use it unless you want to buy a book.

For smartphones and tablets, you can download a free app here:


Is The Sky Falling?

Posted: June 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Recently I received an email from an agent, who shall remain unnamed, asking readers what they thought about the question “Is The Sky Falling?” in the publishing market.

It was a rah rah talk designed to tell would be authors to dig down and work harder.

“Traditional publishing is dead. Everyone should self publish.”

“It’s harder than ever to get a book deal.”

“Advances are lower than they’ve been in years.”

“When you finally get a book deal, your advance could be spread out over two years or more.”“The big houses are aggressively seeking household names and celebrity authors.”

“There seem to be fewer slots for debut authors.”

“Amazon is going to take over the world and put everyone else out of business.”

Yes, it’s hard. So what? If it were easy, anyone could do it.Maybe the sky’s not really falling.

Maybe instead the sky is calling. Maybe it’s calling us to pull on our grown-up pants and deal with it. Maybe it’s calling us to be even more clear about our purpose and reason for doing what we do. Maybe it’s calling us to face the realities head-on, acknowledge them and keep on working.

So these quotes above are taken out of context. The agent agrees things are becoming harder these days, but then gives the rah rah and asks for other opinions.  Of course she got all rah rah back from her fans, her stable of authors, and the many still trying to get an agent.

Unfortunately I was not in a charitable mood. I think the field is changing and that authors are getting the short shrift. Read the rest of this entry »