Tag Archives: Norm Brown

Top Ten Most Viewed Posts on the Second Wind Blog

The authors of Second Wind have contributed 1,340 posts to this blog. Since all of those posts are exceptional, each in their own way, it would be impossible to create a list of the ten best bloggeries. Thanks to WordPress statistics, however, it’s a simple matter of listing (in descending order) the ten that have garnered the most views:

Do Not Lean by Norm Brown gives simple and profound advice for navigating the curving roads of life.

Puppy Love by Claire Collins is a complete short story chosen to be included in the Second Wind anthology, Love is on the Wind.

Splish Splash, I was Taking a Bath by Sherrie Hansen rhapsodizes about water: too much water, not enough water, life revolving around water.

What is Your Character’s Favorite Color? — by Pat Bertram shows how to use color to help create colorful characters.

Writer Beware–POV Confusion/Character Overload by Juliet Waldron explains the dangers of too many point of view shifts.

One-eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater by Claire Collins is a humorous reminder about how important it is to have the correct wording and order of words while writing.

Writing Outside the Box by J J Dare taps into our quirky side.

The Importance of Imagery–by Deborah J Ledford talks about how carefully crafted images will be ones your reader will not soon forget.

The lure of the dark-side – anti-heroes and anti-heroines by Mairead Walpole tells us what makes for a wonderful and well-rounded anti-hero.

To the women . . . by Claire Collins is a joyous tribute to motherhood.

We hope you will enjoy visiting (or revisiting) these wonderful posts.

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Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Plot Twists

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques from Authors of Second Wind Publishing is the 100th book published by Second Wind.  The book is dedicated to everyone who made this accomplishment possible: our authors, our readers, our friends, and our followers. Thank you!

EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING

Plot Twists:
Three Little Questions
By
Norm Brown, Author of Carpet Ride

As a writer and avid reader of mystery novels, I love a good plot twist. Like that special seasoning in a favorite recipe, they are often what turn a simple story into an intriguing tale. The unexpected is what keeps readers turning the pages. However, like the food seasoning, plot twists can be overdone or simply distracting. Whether creating the timeline for a novel or writing the first draft, I like to keep my mind open to possible twists and surprises that could be stirred in to make the story more exciting and suspenseful. Some are included in my novel and many are tossed away. To help me decide, I came up with three little questions to keep in mind as I work through each scene.

 What if? As I come to each scene, usually a complete chapter, I have a pretty good idea what needs to happen in order to simply advance the plot (or a subplot) of the book, but as I’m filling in the details, I like to ask, “What if this was to happen instead of what the reader is expecting?” In my novel, Carpet Ride, I was surprised myself at how often the story expanded in a whole new direction. Seems to me, if you end up writing exactly the plot you started with, you probably missed some opportunities to make it better. So, turn your imagination loose and experiment with alternatives in the story.

 Why? When it comes to plot twists in a mystery, I don’t believe in sheer coincidence. Whatever surprising thing happens, it should happen for a logical reason. The cause does not have to be obvious to the reader right at that moment, but as the story unfolds the logic of this particular sequence of events has to be believable or your reader will feel cheated.

What then? To avoid cluttering your novel with meaningless distractions, any sudden plot twist should add something to the story. Even if it turns out to be a red herring, the twist should advance the plot toward its eventual conclusion. Otherwise, it’s just filler. And nobody wants to read filler.

***

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon (Print & Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all ebook formats including palm devices)

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July 27th is Opening Day for the Summer Olympics. Celebrate by Opening a Book from Second Wind Publishing!

July 27th is the Opening Day Ceremony for the Summer Olympics. Opening a mystery from Second Wind Publishing is cause for celebration, too!

😎

Vendetta by Nancy A Niles

When Private Investigator, Tina Munroe agrees to help out an old friend little does she know the danger she’s put herself and her loved ones in. Have Tina’s actions to save one friend caused another friend to die? Can she stop the killer in time? Could the killer be someone she knows and trusts?

😎

Ghost Mountain by Nichole R Bennett

Cerri Baker moves with her family to the Black Hills of South Dakota where she begins seeing things—things like murder. As she struggles with her own spiritual destiny, she must also convince the authorities her intimate knowledge of the murder comes from the dead victim. Will they believe she is not the murderer?

😎

Carpet Ride by Norm Brown

At the end of driving their RV through the Oregon mountains, newlyweds Sam and Lynn almost hit a rug and nearly crash. The chain of events after discovering what’s in the rug make the adventures of their recent honeymoon pale in comparison.

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com

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Interview with Norm Brown, Author of “Carpet Ride”

What is your book about?

Norm: Near the end of their honeymoon trip across Oregon, Sam Stanley, his new wife Lynn, and her one-year-old son Andy, traverse a steep mountain road in a rented RV. In the middle of a blind curve they run over a long roll of carpeting angled across the road. Sam barely manages to avoid crashing down the mountainside. When he walks back up the road to move the obstacle—it’s gone. Upon returning home to Austin, Sam learns that the crushed body of a business executive from Boulder, Colorado has been found at the site of their reported accident. The Oregon police suspect Sam in the obvious hit and run death; there is no roll of carpet. When deadly “accidents” continue in Texas, Sam realizes they were all supposed to die on that mountain.

How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?

Norm: It rattled around in my head for over six months before I actually sat down and began to outline the plot.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Norm: The opening scene occurred to me when my son and I were traveling on vacation in a rented RV through the Coastal Wilderness of Oregon. While negotiating a frighteningly narrow curve on a steep, lonely mountain road, I couldn’t help but imagine what would happen if something suddenly blocked the way of the big, clunky vehicle. Like most book ideas, it started with that simple question: What if?

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

Norm: The novel actually has two protagonists, but if I had to choose my favorite it would be Sam Stanley. At the beginning of the story, newly-wed Sam feels almost literally on top of the world. When targeted by an unknown enemy, he discovers courage and strength he never knew he possessed. Carpet Ride is the story of Sam’s evolution from vulnerable victim to desperate defender of his little family.

Who is your most unusual/most likeable character?

Norm: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing about the one-and-a-half year old boy, Andy. The growing bond between him and his new step dad Sam added a level of vulnerability that I think helped ratchet up the intensity of the story. The little guy is barely starting to form words, but he actually helps to solve the mystery.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Norm: I’m not a speedy writer at all. I wrote and rewrote for over a year before even considering trying to find a publisher.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Norm: I know a lot of authors like to let the story unfold as they write, but I’m definitely an outliner. The basic story was laid out in my notes before I started. The details of the plot changed a lot however by the time I finished the first draft.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it?

Norm: The action of the story takes place at locations I was already somewhat familiar with in Oregon, Texas, and Colorado. I think that reduced the amount of background research required. I do remember however nervously wandering around a local hospital intensive care unit to get a feel for the layout of a scene. I always feel like an intruder in hospital hallways, and in this case I probably was.

How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

Norm: Although I start writing with a very detailed plot, I find that my characters evolve and more or less define themselves through their actions and words as the story unfolds. One main character, Sam’s best friend John Canton, didn’t even exist when I started the first draft. I soon discovered that I needed him to help Sam solve the murder mystery and he went on to become a second protagonist. Starting out as a rather reckless young man, his development throughout the story is more or less the opposite of Sam Stanley’s. By the last chapter he has noticeably matured and puts his life on the line to defend his friends.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

Norm: I worked most of my life as a computer programmer/analyst. Just as when creating a software program, I need a fairly detailed timeline of how my novel is going to proceed before I start typing. While writing Carpet Ride I kept the timeline updated until very near the end. Once the editing and rewriting phase started, the timeline was still useful as a reference for details.

What do you like to read?

Norm: I read mostly mystery and suspense novels. I particularly like stories that put ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances.

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Excerpt from “Carpet Ride” by Norm Brown

Near the end of their honeymoon trip across Oregon, Sam Stanley, his new wife Lynn, and her one-year-old son Andy, traverse a steep mountain road in a rented RV. In the middle of a blind curve they run over a long roll of carpeting angled across the road. Sam barely manages to avoid crashing the huge vehicle down the mountainside. When he walks back up the road to move the obstacle—it’s gone. Upon returning home to Austin, Sam learns that the crushed body of a business executive from Boulder, Colorado has been found at the site of their reported accident. There is no roll of carpet.

Excerpt:

“Lightning maybe?”

“Could’ve been, I guess. But the storm clouds are gone. I can see stars now.”

They both watched the tree top and sky for a moment.

“We need to keep moving.”

Lynn nodded and started forward.

They walked on down the trail, passing through alternating patches of moonlight and shadow. The low hum from up ahead was becoming more like a rumble. There was an ominous sense of power in the sound that made Sam’s stomach want to roll.

Then he saw the light.

A large white spot flashed across the brush to his left. He stopped and watched. The light became brighter, more focused. First one tree trunk and then the next lit up briefly as the beam of light swung through the woods.

“He’s back,” Lynn cried out behind him.

The light sank lower on the tree trunks and then vanished completely. The approaching vehicle must have dropped into a dip in the trail behind them. It was hard to guess how far behind.

“How can he be coming from that direction, Sam? From behind us.”

“That fork in the trail, back near the cabin. That must be another way in here.”

Sam bounced Andy higher on his hip to get a better grip and then turned back in the direction they had been going.

“Let’s get around this next curve, find a place to hide.”

He walked fast, with long strides. In spite of her limp Lynn kept up fairly well as they followed the ruts around a gentle curve. After about fifty feet, the trail straightened and started down a slight incline. Sam slowed and squinted into the patchy moonlight, trying to make sense of what he saw ahead of them. The white gravel tire ruts they had been following appeared to go straight for a short distance and then disappear into an expanse of open moonlight. It looked to Sam like the world ended a few yards ahead. The rumbling sound was coming from beyond the edge.

He took a couple more slow steps forward before the white beam of light suddenly reappeared, lighting up the woods to his left. It provided enough diffuse light down the trail for Sam to clearly see what lie ahead. From where he stood, the trail continued for a few feet and then abruptly ended. Or more correctly, he realized, it submerged. A dark churning mass of water flowed across from his right to his left. Sam could feel a cool mist on his face.

They had found the creek Sam remembered crossing on the way to Martin’s cabin. Only it was no longer a wide shallow creek, but a raging torrent. Although the heavy rains had ended, all that accumulated water still had to go somewhere. In this hilly terrain the floodwater sought lower ground with amazing speed and force.

Sam felt Andy’s arm tighten around his neck. Lynn came up beside him and squinted in the low light at a pile of white foam tumbling by a few feet away. All three seemed mesmerized by the surging rise and fall of the water. Then they were suddenly lit up from behind. Their long skinny shadows stretched out across the surface of the water, but never quite found the opposite shore of the swollen creek.

Sam and Lynn turned just as the source of the light came into view. Two incredibly bright headlights topped by small orange running lights. The body of the vehicle was not yet visible, but there was little doubt that it would prove to be the big white van.

***

Norm Brown was born and raised in Groves, a small town at the very southeastern corner of Texas. He earned a degree in physics from Lamar University, but a science career was not in the cards. Instead Norm got in on the ground floor of the rapid expansion of computers beginning in the 1970′s and has enjoyed a long, successful career in programming and analysis, living and working in Houston, Dallas, Kansas City, Wichita, Boulder, and finally Austin.

As an avid reader of mystery and suspense, however, Norm always had an unexpressed desire to see his own words in print and to entertain people with stories from his imagination. Carpet Ride is his first novel to be published.

Click here to read the first chapter of: Carpet Ride

Click here to buy: Carpet Ride

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Introducing the Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper. I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard:

1. Writing is like exercise. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get up at 4:00 in the morning to begin writing…the warm covers are oh so snuggly. Other times, the adrenalin rush about an aspect of the story-in-process surging through me has me up at 3:00, sitting still for three hours, and then reluctantly stopping so I can prepare myself and family for the work/school day ahead. Like exercise, it has to be done nearly every day to accomplish anything close to completion.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is reading reviews from unknown readers – and seeing that they really loved my story.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing typos after publication of what I thought was an error-free book.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood. I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t. But I have to write. I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper. Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them. Other days I struggle over each and every letter. Either way, writing is something I have to do. Just like eating or breathing.

2. The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream. Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it. How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3. I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me. I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work. I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am. That’s okay. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights, Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the
book.

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

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Blog Jog, Zen and the Art of Motor Trikes, and Our Best Contest Ever

Welcome to Blog Jog, a one-day trot around the highways and byways of the blogosphere. Feel free to check out our place before you move on to the next blog in the jog.

With so many authors contributing to the Second Wind Blog, there is something for everyone. If you don’t know where to start, you can start by reading Norm Brown’s article: “Do Not Lean,” a Zen-like post about the art of the motor trike. Norm is the author of Carpet Ride, published by Second Wind Publishing.

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post will be entered in Second Wind’s best contest ever — a chance to win a copy of every title Second Wind will publish in 2011. Wow! So, be sure to leave a comment, then jog on over to visit mystery writer S. R. Claridge.

If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, you can find the entire list of participants at: Blog Jog Day.

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Happy Halloween from Second Wind Publishing

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Extra Words

While I was struggling through the third or fourth draft of my first novel, I came across a helpful little piece in “Writer’s Digest” magazine. It was a short list of common redundancies that appear in books of all sorts. Sometimes we unintentionally use more words than necessary to get our idea across. Since my main goal at the time was to reduce the word count of my novel, I cut the list out and pinned it on the corkboard next to my desk. Referring to it occasionally made me more aware of my own habits. For example, my character frequently “shrugged his shoulders” when all he really needed to do was “shrug”. What else would he shrug?

Common Redundancies:

Two-wheeled bicycle                               nodded his head

6 a.m. in the morning                              ran quickly

absolutely perfect (perfect is absolute)   rise up

climbed up the stairs                              rose to her feet

crept slowly                                            sat down

drop down                                              shrugged his shoulders

eased slowly                                           small leprechaun

exact same                                             stomped heavily

fall down                                                stood to his full height

long-necked giraffe                               stood up

long-lasting durability                           terribly bad

the reason why                                       tiptoed quietly

The magazine editors included their favorite example:

“Today’s soup du jour of the day is pasta noodle.”—author Linda George

There are also words or phrases that are not necessarily redundant, but are often expendable. They don’t add much to what you’re trying to say. They listed some of those.

Expendable Words:

anyway                                        probably                             just

at the present time (now)            proceeded to                      perhaps

began to                                     owing to the fact                very

by means of (by)                         quite

certainly                                      rather

considering the fact that             real

definitely                                     really

exactly                                        slightly

fairly                                           so

in order to                                  somewhat

in spite of the fact that              sort of

in the event that (if)                   such

In my manuscript, I searched for the word “just” and discovered that I used it far too often for some sort of vague emphasis. Something like: “She was just terrified by the thought.” The little word doesn’t add any real qualification. You’re either terrified or you’re not.

Also, as a Texan, I have to add one more word to the expendable list. I found that my characters and narrator tended to use the adjective “pretty” on practically every page. It’s a common Texas (southern?) colloquialism used to mean something like “very much” or “significantly”. For example: “The kid was pretty excited to see them.” Sometimes it is appropriate for my characters to say things like that. After all, some of them are Texans. But I was startled by how often my third person narrator also used the word. It took me pretty much all day to cut that back to a reasonable number. Okay, I still say “pretty” a lot, but I try not to write it so much.

I found these lists helpful. They are by no means complete. I’m sure you can think of more examples of these common redundancies and expendable words.

Norm Brown is the author of the suspense novel Carpet Ride, recently released by Second wind Publishing, LLC.

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