Tag Archives: Staccato

Virtual Book Tour – by Deborah J Ledford

Last month I had the opportunity to make an online appearance that may very well be the next new advancement in book tours. Shindig is a site which allows up to 500 people to join you for a live, virtual discussion online. Think Blog Talk Radio, but with the ability to see and interact with the attendees.

Questions can be asked, and you can opt out of appearing onscreen, but it’s very cool to see your friends and followers as you present your discussion.

This is a Beta site, a bit glitchy, and a dozen people were unable to access the appearance, but I’m sure Shindig will be able to work out all of the kinks before too long. I was thrilled to have had this opportunity to talk about my books, SNARE and STACCATO and to discuss my road to publication.

If you are an author with a new release, or want to promote your currently published books, I encourage you to jump on this opportunity. You can reach Eric Yohay at: eric@shindigevents.com.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her website.

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NaNoWrite – Tips to Help You Focus by Deborah J Ledford

Okay, so you’ve made the decision to join thousands of other writers for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2011 project. I thought some tips to help you focus might be helpful.

1) STAY FOCUSED:  Nothing is more frustrating than losing focus and veering from your original story idea. In an effort to eliminate any confusion, write a Logline that merely answers: WHAT IS MY STORY ABOUT? 24-30 words maximum. Think of it as a TV Guide blurb. Print the description out in bold font and keep it close at hand. This description should be fused in your memory so that you may respond to the often dreaded request: “Tell me what your story’s about.” By committing these lines to memory, you fuse their reality and make your works an achievable goal. At the start of each writing day, read the Logline so that you may focus your thoughts on what you originally intended to achieve.

For example, here is the logline for my latest novel SNARE: One rock star sensation. Two men from her past want her dead. Three others will risk everything to keep her safe. Who will be caught in a trap?

This is the logline that kept me focused while writing the first book in my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series STACCATO: Three world-class pianists. Two possible killers. One dead woman. Who is her murderer? Who will be next?

2) KEEP MOVING:  If you’re stuck on a chapter—move on to the next one. Make notations as to where you are stuck to remind yourself where stumbling blocks raised their wicked head, dismiss them for now and start another chapter. Keep moving!

3) VISUALIZE REAL PEOPLE:  It often helps to visualize performers speaking your lines of dialogue. It will also help you “see” these actors employ mannerisms and quirks which make your characters come to life. www.imdb.com will help you research performers you have in mind. Take a look at their films or TV programs and put them in your scenes.

4) CHARACTER SKETCHES:  Even minor characters should be thought out fully. Create a character breakdown indicating what each character in your piece is about. Quirks, hobbies, downfalls, character flaws, likes/dislikes are all instrumental in creating “real people”.  Create a breakdown of each of your characters. One paragraph is sufficient for minor characters, but major players should be detailed to the extreme. You will find that by writing two pages of text about these people you will know them better and be able to convey their reality to the reader.

5) BRING EACHCHAPTER FULL CIRCLE:  Each chapter should be a short story within itself. Consider if all elements you have included are necessary to advance the plot. Do you really need a flashback within the chapter?  If flashbacks are too long you risk tricking the reader into believing the flashback is playing in real time.  Do you really need to throw in that extra character?  Focus the scene (chapter) where you want to lead the reader.

6) CREATE A HOOK:  One of the most important elements to integrate is a hook at the end of each chapter—no matter the genre. Your main goal is to get the reader to NOT quit reading. If you reveal a cunning chapter end, chances are, they’ll be compelled to turn the page.

7) AVOID EXTRANEOUS TAGS:  If it’s evident who is speaking, cut the HE/SHE SAID tag at end of your sentences. Chances are the reader is going to skip this qualifier anyway.  If you stay true to what your character is saying, their dialogue (in many cases) will reveal their identity. Instead, throw in a bit of action—what he/she is doing or reacting to in order to keep the scene active.

8 ) KEEP A DAILY RECORD OF WHAT YOU HAVE WORKED ON:  Use a Daily Planner to notate word count you have composed at the end of your day’s writing. This is also great to notate details pertinent to your work. Keep this “journal” for your professional output only. Be sure to do a word count when you finish writing and notate this on your planner—think of it as your cookie at the end of the day.

9) TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE “WORKING”, NOT “WRITING”:  Laypeople don’t understand writers or what we actually do. They do however understand “work” and can process this delineation much better. If a family member or friend calls and asks what you’re doing, merely state: “I’m working.” That usually does the trick.

Congratulations on making the commitment to complete an entire manuscript this month.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.


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Interview With Deborah J Ledford, Author of Snare and Staccato

Hi, Deborah. Could you provide us with a little bio?

I am first and foremost a suspense thriller author. My latest novel, SNARE, is The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist. STACCATO is book one of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series and both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. I’m also a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. My award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications, as well as literary and mystery anthologies.

What is your training and experience?

Before my writing career I was a professional scenic artist for movies, theatre and industrial films. Then I started writing screenplays. I see writing as an extension of the visual form, and due to my experience writing scripts my novels are quite visual and heavily dialogue driven. I also have my own independent film production company and will be writing the screenplay for SNARE.

Could you tell us about SNARE?

The tagline is: Revenge with a beat. It’s the journey of popular rock star Katina Salvo who is about to embark on her first personal appearance. She’s just learned she’s been receiving death threats and unbeknownst to her, her father has recently been released from prison for killing her mother 15 years earlier. Her six day journey, along with Deputy Steven Hawk who is assigned to protect Katina, takes her on a path of murder, revenge, retribution and discovery.

What was the path to publication for SNARE?

SNARE began as a screenplay, then I went on to novelize the piece much later. It’s been through so many evolutions since day one. I began to get serious about what was to become the printed version of novel before my debut novel STACCATO was published in 2009. SNARE was released 12.21.10.

What sort of research did you do for this book?

I’m part Eastern Band Cherokee and knew that I wanted the Native American element to be instrumental for SNARE. Once I decided on the Tribe to focus on I came into contact with the communications director on the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Floyd “Mountain Walking Cane” Gomez read every word of the manuscript as I composed each draft. He either approved scenes, characters and elements, or told me flat out “No, you cannot use this.” (he told me this quite often!) Elements Floyd wasn’t sure about were cleared by elders and the Taos Pueblo Tribal Council.

Why are the settings in your novels so important to you?

I decided if I was going to write an ongoing series the location would be every bit as important as the characters. I spent my summers growing up in western North Carolina, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Since this locale is rarely featured in print, and I know it so well, this is where I decided to set the overall main location. The characters, their motivation and journey are sparked from the areas featured in both books. For the other location in SNARE, I fell in love with the Taos Pueblo, New Mexico reservation and its people after researching for the Native American tribe I wished to highlight in the book.

Could you share one of your favorite paragraphs in SNARE?

Sure. The paragraph below indicates the spiritual connection Deputy Steven Hawk shares with the female lead, Native American Katina Salvo. The scene appears in Chapter 48 when Hawk and Steven are on the Taos Pueblo Indian Reservation:

Hawk took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Well, I felt something. Kind of like when I think my dad’s visiting me. He died almost seven years ago, but sometimes I swear he’s in the room when I’m alone. I’ve got a wind chime hanging on the back porch. It’s just a little copper bell, but sometimes, when it’s real quiet, and not a leaf is stirring, that bell strikes a single ting.”

Where do your ideas come from?

Some come to me in quite vivid dreams, but most ideas for my novels and short stories are prompted by real-life events. I love the CNN news crawl—short headline-type info that more often than not you never hear anything else about. A lot of subplots have been prompted by news related events. Also, I’m a people watcher and I try my best to implement characteristics, ticks and sometimes dialogue from actual people I’ve witnessed.

How can we find out more about you?

Free downloads of the first chapters to SNARE and STACCATO, as well as a few of my previously published short stories can be found on my website. I’m also on Twitter, have a Personal Page on Facebook as well as a Facebook Book Page, and the great book site Goodreads.


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Young Adult Novel – A First Attempt – by Deborah J Ledford

I’m taking a breather from writing my suspense thriller series to attempt a Young Adult novel. This is a first for me on several levels. Although a majority of my stories that appear in print publications and anthologies are considered traditional mysteries, and many of them feature kids, these characters have strictly been secondary characters.

You writers out there know it’s impossible to ignore the words screaming in your head to be written, or the characters urging you to write about them. This time around two teenagers have captured my imagination—and there’s no denying them.

I attended a YA panel at the ThrillerFest Conference last month and asked who determines if a novel will be offered as a YA book or for the adult market. I mentioned John Hart’s The Last Child as an example. This fantastic novel features a 13-year-old boy in search of his sister’s killer, and yet is not marketed as a YA novel. It seems to be up to the publisher as to which category a novel will be exhibited. The darkness in tone seems to be a determining factor as well.

In order to figure out what is an unknown market to me I’ve been reading published novels to make sure I’m on track. The Hunger Games is a fantastic book in Suzanne Collins’ series—and yet it is quite dark and doom an gloom sets the pace. Sophie Littlefield makes a departure from her compelling A Bad Day For… mystery series with her YA novel Banished, and her dystopia series beginning with Rebirth.

The little novel I’m writing is much different than any of these books mentioned, yet I hope it will be of interest to younger readers looking for a bit of an escape. I know it has been one for me, and a pleasure to write as well.

How about you out there? Writers, do you enjoy departing from what you normally write to work on words of a different genre? And you readers, does it matter to you when one of your favorite authors presents a book other than what they normally write for you?

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.


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What’s Up?

  I’m getting ready to make a few personal appearances to promote the release of my latest thriller novel SNARE, released by Second Wind Publishing. To date, SNARE has received four extremely favorable reviews and I couldn’t be more proud of the reception readers are giving the work. I’ve nearly run out of the first box of books from the publisher and am awaiting more for me to have available at the Left Coast Crime 2011 Convention in Santa Fe later this month.

I’m having a bit of trouble making contact with bookstores that will be represented at the conference—only one vendor seems to want to commit to handling books before the conference so it looks like I’ll be lugging a lot of copies with me.

A bookstore owner in Taos wants to meet with me while I’m in New Mexico, so that’s exciting. I sent a preview copy of SNARE and hopefully they will want me to make a personal appearance there this summer as well.

I also need to get to Winston-Salem and make an appearance at Barnhill’s Bookstore and say hello to the folks there. Since they’re affiliated with Second Wind and my books’ locations are set in North Carolina I hope there will be a warm reception and that we can sell a lot of SNARE and STACCATO.

Several fan letters have even come my way. I love to receive these–and to know that readers are enjoying the continuation of Steven Hawk’s journey, even though SNARE does feature a completely different theme and female lead.

Unfortunately due to working hard on promotion, I haven’t had the opportunity to actually write much of anything the past few months. I did finish the first draft of a short story for the upcoming Desert Sleuths Chapter Sisters in Crime anthology, but haven’t had the opportunity to work on my traditional mystery . . . which looks to be turning out to be more of a YA novel.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE is a nominee for The Hillerman Sky Award at Left Coast Crime 2011. STACCATO is book one of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her website.


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Snare by Deborah J Ledford

Title:                  SNARE
Author:            Deborah J Ledford
Publisher:        Second Wind Publishing
Release Date: December 21, 2011
ISBN#               13: 978-1935171577 


One rock star sensation.
Two men from her past want her dead.
Three others will risk everything to keep her safe.
Who will be caught in a trap?

SNARE – Revenge with a beat 

Native American pop singer/songwriter Katina Salvo’s career is about to take off.  There’s one problem: someone wants to kill her. Katina and her bodyguard, Deputy Steven Hawk, are attacked during an altercation at her first live concert. Could the assailant be a mysterious, dangerous man from her youth? Or her estranged father recently released from prison for killing her mother? 

Performed against the backdrop of the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and the mysterious Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, SNARE is a thriller fans of Tony Hillerman will appreciate. SNARE is Book Two of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series.


Katina nodded, thinking about the possibilities. She took up the moccasin Sylvie had been working on and ran a finger over the colorful beads. She knew her aunt held confessions from innumerable Pueblo people who had confided in her over the years, many of them long dead, their confidences still locked in Sylvie’s reverence. Katina cursed the stubborn pride that always steered her aunt’s conscience. All she could do was wait and hope Sylvie would reveal the hidden mysteries of Taima and her mother.

She knew she needed to be cautious as to how to begin, but instead, she blurted, “When did you last see Taima?”

Sylvie stubbed out the cigarette, her eyes on the winking red coal extinguishing in the saucer. “Friday night.”

The ringing grew louder in Katina’s ears. Her eyes scanned the floor as she whispered, “That can’t be.”

Sylvie motioned her head toward the front room, to the closed front door. “He was standing in the field, across the way. Just before sundown.”

The vision of Taima in the front row of the theatre entered Katina’s mind. “But he was at the theatre. I saw him in the wings, then during the concert. He’s the one who attacked Hawk.”

“That’s not true. Can’t be true.”

Leaning in close, Katina took Sylvie’s hand. “It is. You’re mistaken about seeing him. It was probably one of the Gomez brothers. They look a lot like him.”

“I know my husband, Katina.” Sylvie ripped her hand away.

“It was him, Sylvie. I smelled the campfire smoke in his hair and the leather of his boots as he stood over me with a knife in his hand dripping with Hawk’s blood.”

“I can’t . . . won’t believe that.”

“Hawk and I are going to find out the truth.”

“So that’s why you’ve brought him here.”

Katina held Sylvie’s anxious gaze, but didn’t speak.

“Most say Taima’s topepe. But . . .” Sylvie’s words, barely above a whisper, trailed off.

“He’s more than a troublemaker, Auntie. He’s a plague on the Pueblo. Cutting down viable trees instead of using fallen ones to make his precious drums. Hunting whenever and wherever he damned well pleases.” Katina leaned forward to study Sylvie who kept her eyes on the coffee mug. “You still love him, don’t you?”

Sylvie didn’t meet Katina’s eyes and she knew the truth.

“He blames me for my mother’s death. How can you love someone who hates me so much?”

“That was a long time ago, Kat. You don’t know him, now.”

Katina rose from the chair. “Oh, I know him. He’s just like my father. Both of them will stop at nothing to destroy me. If not my body, my soul.”

Katina bent over to kiss the top of Sylvie’s head. Katina closed her eyes, inhaling the scent of sage shampoo coming from her aunt’s hair. Resting her cheek on Sylvie’s shiny crown, she said, “If anything happens to me while I’m here, I won’t stand in Hawk’s way to make things right.”

Katina knelt down and with her fingertips, lifted Sylvie’s chin upward to meet her aunt’s dark eyes. “You can tell Taima that the next time you see him standing in the field, across the way.”


Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense thriller SNARE received the nomination for The Hillerman Sky Award. STACCATO is Book One of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series, both released by Second Wind Publishing. She spent her summers growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina which is the setting for her suspense thriller novels and many of her short stories.
As well as a suspense thriller novelist, Deborah J Ledford is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. She is most proud of her stories that appear in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths anthologies How NOT to Survive a Vacation and How NOT to Survive the Holidays (DS Publishing, 2009, 2010) and “The Spot” which is featured in Murder in the Wind (Second Wind Publishing, 2010). To find out more about Deborah, read the first chapters of SNARE and STACCATO, and a few of her previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her website

Click here to buy: Snare

Click here to read the first chapter: Snare 

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Book Award Season

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous holiday season. 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to get ready to submit books and short stories for award consideration.

My novels are released by Second Wind Publishing, therefore my latest title, SNARE, qualifies for the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), and the Glyph Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. I plan to submit SNARE to the Suspense/Thriller and Multi-Cultural categories.

As for short stories, I submitted “Loose End” which appeared in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths mystery anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation for consideration to the Derringer Award.

The award possibility I’m most excited about takes place during the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference (LCC) which will be held March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is one of the most prestigious fan/writer conventions. I networked and mingled with readers from around the globe and some of the finest crime novelists in the publishing world at last year’s conference.

One of the locations of my latest thriller is set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The female lead is Native American and the other location takes place on New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, therefore SNARE qualifies for The Hillerman Sky Award.

Since this pop/rock music-based thriller was only officially released 12.21.10 I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word about book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series. I unveiled the visual of the cover on the Second Wind Publishing blog titled: “Snare – Uncovered” and have received a fantastic response to the cover.

Writers and readers I’ve met since the release of book one of the series, STACCATO, have been very generous with their thumbs up based upon the first pages of SNARE. You can download this sneak peek from my website before the printed version of the book becomes available.

If you plan to attend LCC 2011, I hope you find SNARE to be worthy of a nomination to The Hillerman Sky Award.

Another Second Wind author, Eric Beetner, will be at LCC Santa Fe as well. He and J.B. Kohl co-wrote the fantastic 1940s noir novel Borrowed Trouble, worthy of the Bruce Alexander Award. I hope you will also consider this book for nomination.

Am I missing any other awards you’d like to share information about?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.


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Book Trailer — Staccato by Deborah J Ledford

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SNARE – Uncovered

I’ve received raves for the cover of my debut suspense thriller STACCATO, so the pressure was on to think of equally compelling ideas for my latest release.

This project has held the title ICE ON FIRE since its inception as a screenplay, but after receiving input from quite a few published novelists I decided stay with the musical theme for Book Two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. In doing so I had to come up with a different title—a single word grabber more relating to this rock music themed thriller. Not an easy task, believe me.

Many suggestions were offered, but SNARE kept coming to my mind and wouldn’t let go. I try my best to implement titles that signify more than one element relating to the plot. The word “snare” has not only has a musical connotation, but also means caught in a trap—which every character in the novel finds themselves ensnared in.

Once the title was nailed down I enlisted the assistance of the incredibly talented designer Chantelle Aimée Osman for the crucial task of coming up with ideas for the cover most fitting the new title. Chantelle insisted I stay with the “hands” theme. She was absolutely right. Due to her innovative efforts, SNARE truly is a killer cover.

SNARE is slated for a limited release December 28th and will be available to a wider audience beginning February 22, 2011.

As with STACCATO, I look forward to taking you on the journey to publication for this release as well.

So, what do you think? Does the title work for you? Is this cover an eye catcher? I look forward to your comments.

Be the first to read the first 25 pages of SNARE before the official release by going to my website.


Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.


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RUBICON RANCH – The Suspects are Growing

Summer is over. Fall is upon us. Time for a new project. The second chapter of Rubicon Ranch is now available and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m thrilled to be one of the writers involved in this collaborative novel. This innovative concept of presenting chapters online, followed by a printed version of the book may very well become a standard, but Pat Bertram thought of it first and Second Wind Publishing is enthusiastically supporting nine of their crime writer novelists in this project.

The first chapter, by Pat Bertram, features Melanie Gray, the recent widow who discovers the body of a little girl stuffed into the console of an ancient television set. Chapter two follows the path of the county sheriff as he begins his investigation. Lazarus Barnhill presents a compelling character who begins to expose the seven suspects living in the upscale California desert community of Rubicon Ranch.

Chapter eight is when you will meet my character, Eloy Templeton Franklin, an 82-year-old ex-military man who acts as sentry of the neighborhood. Riddled with arthritis, all but feeble, he is an outsider who rarely leaves his porch . . . or does he?

Eloy has been a much welcomed break as I toil through the galley of my upcoming thriller in search of dropped words, misplaced commas, inconsistencies, killing passives, all the while doing my best to approach this arduous task as if it is the first time reading this manuscript when it’s got to be the fiftieth.

SNARE is Book Two of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series which is scheduled for release in December. Chantelle Aimée Osman has come up with a striking cover guaranteed to entice every suspense lover. Look for “SNARE Uncovered” on this blog December 5th to get a peek at this extraordinary cover and to find out more about the upcoming release.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the Rubicon Road site where a new chapter will be presented every Monday.

 Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.


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