Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Little Introduction

Hello from Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region. I’m pleased to have been invited by the Susquehanna Writers to contribute to this blog.

Though I’m 60 miles from Harrisburg I’m still close to the river and my Sticks Hetrick mystery series is set in a fictional rural community near the capital. Sticks originated as a character in a short story written when I was on the staff of The Daily News in Lebanon, where I lived for 20 years.

There are now four novels in the Hetrick series: Something In Common, Cruel Cuts, Corruption’s Child and Being Someone Else, all published by Whiskey Creek Press and available in print and electronic forms. In addition to these mysteries I’ve published four other novels, three of them historical fiction and the other a mainstream novel (for want of a better description). In the near future I hope to announce a new publishing venture in another genre.

Since retiring as an editor with The News-Item, Shamokin, in 2000 I’ve been librarian of the Northumberland County Historical Society where I assist patrons with genealogy and research.

Between this second (or should I say third?) career, my writing, a voracious reading schedule, reviewing for several sites, marketing of my books, drawing, a few other hobbies, my children and four grandsons there isn’t much time for rocking on the porch. But I enjoy it all.

I invite you to check out my webpage for more information: http://jrlindermuth.com

Monday, August 30, 2010

Women Writers in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Genre

A few weeks ago I stepped into a small bookstore at the Park City Mall in Lancaster Pa. While searching through the selection of sf/f novels, I noticed something. The entire section I browsed contained books written by female writers. Just imagine how thrilled I was! (books written by male sf/f writers were shelved further back in the store. Sorry, guys.) The section was not marked "Female Writers" or anything indicating a genre bias. That would be discrimination, now wouldn't it? Displayed were works that I might have passed over at Borders, or Barnes and Noble, but there they were, awaiting my purchase. This goes to show that in a genre that has for decades been dominated by men, women are finally getting their dues.

I remember the days when great writers like Anne McCaffray and Octavia Butler were lost among the crowd. Even today women in the genre use a sudonym that would not indicate gender, because God forbid a man want to read anything written by a women. Perhaps they should. I am tired of men getting it wrong. Portraying women as concubines or sex slaves or indicating that it is every woman's dream to sit on a man's lap (because that's all we think about, right?) is not only insulting, but an unnatural view of human behavior. Most great science fiction novels written by men are actually male fantasy novels. So, why isn't there a genre for that?

I chose a book by Karen Miller entitled, EMPRESS. It enthralled me from the beginning to the end, and I can't wait to read another of hers.

Remember guys. Most readers are female. Get it right.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

POD of the future is here

Taking POD to the next level, the Espresso Book Machine brings convenience to readers. Now if we can just get bookstores on board to buy these babies!

This is a long interview, but very informative.

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweetness from Central Pennsylvania

Check out this sweet package! The Susquehanna Writers will be giving away these goodies for Blogmania. What's better than books? Books and chocolate from the Sweetest Place on Earth -- Hershey, Pa. Click on the photo above for a larger view.

If you're a U.S. resident, become a follower and leave a comment during Blogmania, you could win this sweet prize:

Acting Assertively by Lisa Lawmaster Hess
Fever Dreams by Cate Masters
The Greater Good by Susan Kelley
It Came from Beyond the Sun by Mike Silvestri
The Keepers of Sulbreth by Susan Gourley
Picture This by Cate Masters
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
Thy Kingdom Come by Don Helin
The Yellow Stone by T.M. Crone

And yummy chocolate! Large plain, almond and extra dark Hershey's bars.

So mark your calendars for September 15-16. You won't want to miss out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fever Dreams cover needs your vote!

Cover artist Dawne Dominique did a great job creating the cover for Fever Dreams, don't you think?

We'd both love it if you would vote for entry #14 in the You Gotta Read Covers contest!

A contemporary novel with fantasy elements, Fever Dreams is also part of the Romance Junkies Summer Contest. Enter before August 31st for a chance to win a print copy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Dangers of Research

If you're a writer, especially a nonfiction one, you're probably incredibly curious about everything. I'm always intrigued by odd snippets and facts that I stumble across as I research. Pretty soon I'm totally engrossed in something totally off topic, but thoroughly fascinating. Before I know it, I've blown all my writing time on a nonrelated subject.

At the moment I'm researching and writing on pirates. So when a tidbit about a woman pirate from Pennsylvania caught my eye, I had to follow up even though it had nothing to do with the Chinese woman pirate, Ching Shih, I was supposed to be writing about. Curiouser and curiouser...she lived nearby and met her husband one town away from where I'd lived. So how come I'd never heard of her?

Rachel Schmidt (1760-1789) was born on a farm near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. When she was 16, she met George Wall in the thriving metropolis of Harrisburg and married him against her parents' wishes. She and her husband departed for Boston and worked as a maid and fisherman, respectively. After partying with friends and using up their money, they hit upon a scheme to get rich quick.

Rachel and George sailed out just before a storm, pretended to be in distress, and then murdered those who stopped to help. They took the goods, then sank the ship. This worked well until a storm swept George overboard. From then on, Rachel worked alone, stealing what she could from docked ships.

In 1789 she was captured and tried for a murder she didn't commit. Although she confessed to her earlier crimes, she was hanged for the one she hadn't done. Talk about irony. . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writers Write Day: Part 2

Things I discovered while trying to implement Writers Write Day:

  1. I'm very distractible.
  2. I'm not cut out to write for long, uninterrupted periods. (See #1)
  3. The combination of the lure of the Internet and the habit I've developed of frequent check-ins is much stronger than I realized.
  4. I need to power through the first painful "I can't do this/this is too hard" phase to get to the sweet spot where I can focus and concentrate. Telling my daughter to turn off the TV helps, too.
  5. Butt in chair, eyes on work remains a viable writing rule.

    I've logged a little more than 5 hours since last night, so I still have about 2 hours to go (I'm flexing my day to work around my family's schedule...and my distractibility ;-) It has been a very productive five hours. Which leads me to:
  6. I need at least one of these a month.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writers Write Day: Wednesday, August 11

Last Friday, I received an email about Writers Write Day from fellow writer Rita Gerlach. The official date? Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 11. Here's what Rita had to say:

"Writers, there is a tug-o-war going on for your attention. It mostly comes in the guise of the Internet. Next Wednesday, August 11 is Writers Write Day. The goal of this all day event is to immerse writers in their manuscripts without the distractions of blogs, Facebook, social networking sites, news sources, etc.. Let's admit it, they do pull us away, and sometimes hours go by and we have lost valuable writing time.

Here is what to do.

1. Put a 'do not disturb' sign on your door.
2. Write for at least three hours in the morning. If you start at 9am that will bring you up to the noon hour.
3. Take a lunch break.
4. Write for four hours in the afternoon.
5. That evening post on your blog, Facebook, etc. how it went. How much work did you get done?

Here is what you CANNOT do.

1. Do not peruse the Internet. That includes Facebook and other social networking sites.
2. Do not make phone calls unless absolutely necessary, and make them during your break.
3. No text messaging.
4. No television or radio, but by all means listen to inspirational music that helps the creative juices flow.

Let your family and friends know that you will be going into a day of seclusion to work on your manuscript. Hope you have an incredible time writing."

It sounded wonderful to me, but...yeah, there's always a "but."

In my case, the "but" comes in the form of a preteen whom I prefer not to leave to her own devices for seven hours, and a doctor's appointment for said preteen, made months ago.

BUT (there it is again), I'm not giving up. I like the idea too much to pass, so I'm stretching my Writers Write Day into three days. I started this afternoon, will put as many hours in as I can tomorrow and will finish on Thursday, if necessary. The times I designate as writing times during those days will be Internet-free...but Facebook and blogs do make a nice reward for a job well done, as does email.

How about you? Are you up for a challenge? Or, are you such a well-oiled writing machine that this is child's play for you?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Celebrate the Book Festival coming this fall!

On Saturday, October 23, 2010, The Friends of Bosler Library will host Celebrate the Book, a Central Pennsylvania Book Festival at the Carlisle Expo Center. Their purpose is to bring the community and authors and book-related special events together to promote literacy.

The event will have scheduled authors, children’s book illustrators, and book-related vendors as part of the festival. The featured guest is John Grogan, author of Marley & Me. Children’s activities will include the game “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” and a “tea party” with Alice in Wonderland. Dr. Sharon Gaston will entertain with her wonderful storytelling, and Megan Lloyd will talk about her inspirations for illustrating her books for children. There is so much more—Wert BookBinding, historians Richard Sommers and Ann Hoffer, Patrick Reynolds, and Mark Nesbitt--check out their website www.celebratethebook.org to see the program and all the author’s biographies.

If you are an author and wish to participate, Celebrate the Book is seeking authors who would like to attend the festival, sell their books, and meet the public. Contact festival chair Lynn Hofer for details.

I will be at a booth with my books, including my latest fantasy novel Surfacing, and my Native American historical with local ties to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Follow the Stars Home, which releases tomorrow! Woot!

Hope to see you there!