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November News 2014

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!


Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.

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The Confession

The Confession - Charles Todd As in other Charles Todd books the series takes place just after WWI. Rutledge is a detective with Scotland Yard. He was on the battlefield in France. His horrible experience in the war is what makes him so unique.

Hopefully what I’m about to tell you doesn’t come as a shock. During WWI deserters, or anyone suspected of deserting, or anyone thinking about deserting was shot on the spot by firing squad if not outright. Usually there was a trial of sorts that might have gone like this:

Officer: What were you doing?

soldier: Shooting myself in the foot so that I can be sent back home and away from this horror.

Officer: Then you are a deserter and I sentence you to death.

Something like that.

Charles Todd doesn’t shy away from hitting the issue head-on. The character Ian Rutledge was an officer. His best-friend was his second in command Hamish MacLeod. Hamish tells him that he “won’t go over the edge” (meaning he won’t lead the men out of the trench and straight into enemy fire, which is what they’d been doing for days.) So after a speedy trial but loathe to do what he must, Rutledge lines up a firing squad. Because everyone like Hamish so much the firing misses anything vital, leaving a bullet riddled but alive man. Rutledge must put a bullet in his best friend’s heart. Just as he does that the bunker where they are is blown up. For three days Rutledge lies under the rubble with his dead friend on his back. His friend’s body creates an air pocket that keeps Rutledge alive. After he is rescued he still hears Hamish’s voice. From that point on he carries his dead friend’s ghost on his back. The ghost Hamish speaks to Rutledge as he investigates murder and mayhem in the many books of the series.

In the latest book “The Confession” the story opens up with a skeletal man coming to Scotland Yard to confess to a murder committed years earlier. The doctor has told him he is dying, he says to Rutledge, and he wants to sleep again so he is confessing. Rutledge considers the confession far-fetched as there has never been a missing person’s report or an unsolved murder in the region of the confessor’s admitted murder. But then the confessor is found murdered and this sends Rutledge into the investigation of the past and the present.

People aren’t who they seem in this story. The Essex marsh village that Rutledge travels to is not a close-knit community but they are a closed-to-strangers community. Rutledge doesn’t get very far in his investigation of the present until people from the past come forward with some disturbing news. Yes, a woman did disappear during the time in question. Her body was never found. But they sure don’t want anyone poking about after all this time. But the man confessed to killing a man. It seems the investigation is stalled, until the missing woman’s niece joins with Rutledge to add more disturbing facts. Her cousin went to war and never came back but was never reported missing or dead by the army. Could this be the man the confessor said he murdered? Or might the cousin be the confessor? Rutledge battles prejudice and outright hostility to get to the truth and finds the truth is quite disturbing. There is someone in the community who would go to any lengths including murder to keep the truth hidden.

So read the series, as each one is a delightful and an intriguing delving into the past. Each books with Ian Rutledge provides a satisfactory story.