Going Live and Going Home!

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In Close Up on Murder, L.A. Times photojournalist Britt Johansson is back in Spirit Lake recharging before her next overseas assignment when two murders and a string of threats against her brother set her in action. Are they hate crimes, a long-buried act of revenge or something else?


Last February, I wrote a blog, Going Live, to announce my debut novel, Focused on Murder. And now I’m happy to announce the second in the series, Close Up on Murder is published and available on Amazon. For more about the book, please check out my updated website.

In last February’s post, in addition to thanking my supportive friends and family for all their help with my first efforts to publish a book, I said I’d share some of what I’d learned about the publishing process in my future blog posts. I’ve reposted the list below and commented on how it went.

Tricks I’ve used to tame the fear and keep everything in perspective

There was no perspective and no taming the fear. I spoke in front of 250-300 people at a couple of conferences and don’t remember what I said. In a whirlwind event at Bouchercon, I participated in something called Author Speed Dating to pitch my book. I was given 2 ½ minutes at each of 45 tables consisting of eight readers, reviewers and other authors. It turned out to be immersion therapy. I’m no longer an introvert! That’s not really true, but for the two hours I raced from table to table talking about my book, I was on fire. It felt great.

Tips on how to use CreateSpace

By the time I was ready to publish my second book, I’d forgotten everything I learned from the first time and had to stumble through the process. Yes, they make it easy, but it still felt like trying to put together a Rubik’s Cube.

Reminders to tackle everything at your own pace

I know now that’s a silly statement. Who else’s pace would you use? It turned out that I am not the multi-tasker I thought I was. Once I started working on Close Up, my blogging and promoting slowed almost to a standstill. I switched back to introvert mode.

How to know the difference between resistance and the importance of doing what feels comfortable to you

I have no clue. I read five newsletters a day filled with advice, but I don’t end up doing very much of it. One I read today scared me. It said, “Don’t Crash Your Book Launch” and offered 14 ways to keep that from happening, which takes me back to the top: How to tame the fear and keep everything in perspective.

What I am going to do is load up my car with books and a positive attitude and take a road trip to Minnesota, the setting for my mysteries. I hope to get some perspective during the long drive. I’ll visit family, friends and bookstores, and have some fun working on ideas for my next mystery.


Now that Close Up on Murder is published, I hope you will read it and post your review on Amazon. My website has been updated with new information. Please visit me and say hello.

Reading our Fears

How-to books, motivational gurus and courses proliferate telling us how to how to fight, control or eradicate fear, so imagine my delight when I watched this TED talk by Karen Walker Thompson about looking at our fears as stories we tell ourselves.

Who doesn’t love stories?

Thompson said we are the authors of our fears. She talked about fear “as an act of imagination,” and said fears are unintentional stories complete with plots, characters, images and suspense.

Fears fuel creativity and writers have always used fear as fodder for stories. Being human means dealing with fears on all levels all the time. Parents fear for the wellbeing of their children, most of us have money fears at one point in our lives. Even if we have plenty, we fear losing it. If we’re healthy, we fear sickness. Many of us fear death and some people even fear success.

Thompson also says we are the readers of our fears.

We use our imaginations to predict what could happen in our lives. Choosing the scariest scenario causes the biggest emotional wallop so that’s the one we fear will happen. That process enables writers to create believable situations based on real emotions.

Now I’m looking at fear in an entirely new light. Without my fears, I’d never be able to create the stories I write. Instead of being captive to my fears, I can consciously use them to my advantage. It feels like an epiphany.