Friday, March 22, 2013

Are You a Procrastinator?

Well, I can be. Never with work, of course…well, hardly ever. But sometimes, when the Muse isn’t pounding down my door with ideas for stories, blogs, articles, etc, I do find it easy to be distracted when I’m sitting at my computer. It’s not just a quick game of Mahjong or Free Cell any more. There are many interesting sites on the web – if you’re interested in tennis, skiing, baseball, horses, flying, cooking – you name it, there’s a site you can find with all kinds of info and some have training videos available – fifteen minutes have disappeared in a blink while you learned how to follow through on your golf swing!

And, of course, those sites often have links to their Facebook page, Twitter, YahooGroups discussion groups. Before you know it, a quick little glance at how to make angel food cake has you signed up for online cooking lessons and you’re fifteen posts into a discussion on the merits of butter cream versus cream cheese frosting.

It’s fine to say, just apply willpower and get to work on that review you’ve promised, the blog that’s waiting to be posted, the first three chapters you told your crit partner you’d have to her last week. Then that email alarm sounds and you see someone has said the only real frosting for a cake is their grandmother’s seven-minute frosting. How can you not look at that recipe?
Like sands through an hourglass.....

Here are a couple of suggestions on how to work through the procrastination.

1 – I can write whatever I want on the assignment hanging over my head. I can write the love scene I know is coming up in my WIP, even if my characters aren’t there yet, or the beginning of an article on squirrels or the first paragraph of my column. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t even have to be something I’ll end up sending out, but it does get me writing.

2 – I can online browse at a specific time, but not before. That can be tough because you can find yourself watching the time.

3 – This one is a bit of an oddity, but it can work. Tell yourself you’re NOT allowed to write until a specific time. By the time the designated hour arrives, say 7:37 pm, you could be chomping at the bit to get those ideas onto your hard drive.

So…what gets your fingers moving when you’re procrastinating?

Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge
Also on Facebook, Twitter & Good Reads

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Making Sure My Main Characters aren’t “Too Good to Be True”

 I want to welcome Marilyn Meredith as a guest blogger to my Musings today. For those of you, like me, who love a good mystery series, Marilyn has created an interesting "family" of characters in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I was curious how she balances her hero/heroine so they're like real people...with all the foibles needed to make them fascinating! Let's see how Marilyn does this so well....

Libby asked me to tell how I avoid making the hero or heroine too good a person to be believed. Honestly, I’ve never quite thought about in this way.

In the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, I have a group of characters who appear in each book—at times in the forefront; at others with smaller parts.
Detective Doug Milligan appeared first in Fringe Benefits as a police officer with family problems that exploded after the murder of his babysitter.  He was plagued by depression when his wife left him. He’s had other problems through the series, but at the moment, life is pretty good.

Stacey Milligan appeared a few books later as Stacey Wilbur.  A relationship develops between her and Doug, culminating in marriage. She is far from perfect, and doesn’t always keep her mind on her job. Though she’d like him to, her son Davey doesn’t always come first because her work interferes.

Officer Felix Zachary has had some difficult times in earlier books relating to a shooting, his family being unhappy because he didn’t marry an African American woman, and now frustration with his wife in Dangerous Impulses.

Wendy Zachary has been a good wife up 'til now; the arrival of her and Felix’s first child has caused much self-doubt.

Family problems have distracted Sergeant Abel Navarro in the past and he had a bout of guilt when he made sergeant instead of Zachary, who seemed the most likely candidate until the fateful shooting of an unarmed suspect.

Officer Vaughn Aragon ruined his marriage and nearly his career because of an unresolved problem.

Self-centered Ryan Strickland has kept a huge secret, which, if confessed, might ruin his marriage. He also is confronted with a new family crisis that he isn’t sure he’s man enough to handle.

His wife Barbara has been through a lot beginning with the first book. Though revered by many, she loves to talk. She’s now facing another big crisis, one that she might have to face alone.

And then there’s Officer Gordon Butler, much loved by fans of the series, who has more than his share of troubles, though seldom are they his fault. He longs for someone to fall in love with and often picks the wrong girl.

I’ve come to know these people quite well since I’ve written about them over a period of years. I really do know their strengths and weaknesses, and something these attributes, or lack of, help in planning the plots.

Now a bit about Dangerous Impulses:

An attractive new-hire captivates Officer Gordon Butler, Officer Felix Zachary’s wife Wendy is befuddled by her new baby, Ryan and Barbara Strickland receive unsettling news about her pregnancy, while the bloody murder of a mother and her son and an unidentified drug that sickens teenaged partiers jolts the Rocky Bluff P.D.


The person who comments on the most blog posts on this tour may have a character named after him or her in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel or choose a book from the previous titles in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series in either paper or for Kindle.

Rocky Bluff P.D. Series:

Though each book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is written as a stand-alone, I know there are people who like to read a series in order. From the beginning to the end:

Final Respects
Bad Tidings
Fringe Benefits
Smell of Death
No Sanctuary
An Axe to Grind
Angel Lost
No Bells
Dangerous Impulses

F. M. Meredith’s Bio:
F.M. is also known as Marilyn Meredith, the author of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. She first became interested in writing about law enforcement when she lived in a neighborhood filled with police officers and their families. The interest was fanned when her daughter married a police officer and the tradition has continued with a grandson and grandson-in-law who are deputies. She’s also serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and has many friends in different law enforcement fields. For twenty plus years, she and her husband lived in a small beach community located in Southern California much like the fictional Rocky Bluff. She is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Epic, and Mystery Writers of America.

And I’m on Facebook and Twitter as MarilynMeredith

Tomorrow I’m visiting

Thanks for visiting, Marilyn!

Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge
Find me on Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads