Flawless Dreams Pre-Orders!

So excited and proud to say that I got to contribute “the kissy bits” in Chapter One to the upcoming Dreams and Reality Series Book #12, Flawless Dreams by the amazing Hadena James.

You can find the pre-order listing  here 

Here is a sneak peak at the Book Blurb:

Four months ago, the branch of the federal government that enforces the Serial Killer & Mass Murder laws was attacked. It was organized and used every ruthless killer that could be scrounged up to carry it out. Aislinn Cain and the SCTU lead the charge to take back their neighborhood and the Fortress.

They succeeded, but at high costs to law enforcements and civilians. It left Kansas City and the government reeling. Backlash was immediate and harsh. The Violent Crimes Unit of the FBI was disbanded, leaving Malachi Blake and Caleb Green without jobs. Aislinn Cain was suspended for three months. However, the worst part was that most of the killers involved escaped.

When piles of bones begin turning up in public parks around Kansas City, nobody wants to deal with such a blatant statement that a serial killer is stalking their backyards. He’s organized and arranges to the bones to shock anyone that might find them. He wants everyone to read the stories that the bones tell about his victims.

With all the turmoil, Aislinn Cain’s suspension is lifted so that she can lead her own unit to track this home town serial killer. Most of her team are in training, only Xavier Reece is familiar with the rules of the SCTU. They are the beginnings of a second SCT unit. They must move quickly though because this killer has been at it for years and has suddenly accelerated his killing pace.
Just as Aislinn thinks things can’t get any worse, a mystery man shows up. He brings violence and death with him. Her unwanted stalker is willing to kill for her, but she doesn’t know who he is or why. Until she gets a single clue and realizes the past of one SCTU member could force them to stop investigating the bone cleaner and start a frantic search for a far darker serial killer.


















Avoiding the flat character traps…

So you wrote a draft. You now are madly in love with all the supporting characters except the lead! How the heck did this happen and HOW the heck do I fix it? Oh boy, been there, not just been there but beat it like a dead horse at that!
First off, congratulations!! Finishing a story is super hard! I give you full credit for trying. The first book I wrote (from the start to the finish, very important qualifier there, you have to finish!) I simply could NOT figure out why my story didn’t work. I know now that it was  first book syndrome  (FBS) and  I was too close to it.
I was the helicopter mom who finished all the characters sentences. So much so, that I left a good deal of needed info OUT of the book, assuming the readers would follow along.  I kept rewriting it when I had a break between edits on the second book and the dreaded day job (ok, and making cosplay costumes and everything else) and still the story felt odd. Joanie was a flat piece of plastic while the supporting cast of characters were three-dimensional.
Generally with flat POV characters, the biggest trick is to add in the 5 senses (or 6 if the case may allow, sometimes found as inner monologues) We don’t want to info dump all over our book. We often can’t sit there and describe them (unless they are looking in a mirror and even then that is dicey) Often the other characters are often more interesting because our boring POV character can mentally react to them. When you start invoking the senses in your basic descriptive portions you start pulling out the things that are missing in the flat POV. For instance you may find that the smell of peppermint that the person talking to her has on his breath reminds her of her grandfather, or repulses her because she ate too many as a kid, etc, all providing depth into who she is…
If you feel like you “know the girl like the back of your hand” then you really don’t need to do any type of character building or work sheets. There are many wonderful things out that can help you find the core of your character if you need more research. This workbook is a fine place to start.
And then there was the story itself. It worked FOR ME but I knew all the backstory. Every Beta copy I sent out (there were about 4, even I knew better than to shop it around) I called TRAINWRECK. I hoped they could help, but the only feed back I got was, “Something is not right but I don’t know what.” It was a the final copy I sent out that did the trick. A friend, who is an amazing developmental editor, finally cracked the problem wide open.
Here are three things that can help. For me they came in the form of developmental notes.  These were added to my manuscript in the form of comments, telling  me what she did or don’t see for the story to work. They would not be  looking at your writing style or grammar or anything else, this is just rough draft thoughts on Story.
There were three main things points the Dev. Editor focused on:

  • Basic story line thoughts.  These would be about items missing or not needed for the story. Backstory needing to be sprinkled in or tangents that slowed the pace.
  •  For one chapter I would get character notes. This would just be suggestions on how to make your Lead character feel more 3-d
  •  Suggestions of arrangement/composition. *sigh* I suffered GREATLY from starting in the wrong place. I rewrote it repeatedly, thinking I was getting it right, just to have the same thing happen, again and again. The true problem was I thought I was being mysterious, but really I was just keeping the reader in the dark, and why would they want to keep reading?
    My dev editor wrote me a short email at the end about her thoughts. This was how I reformulated MY thinking on where the story would start so that I could find a better path. She did not tell me how to write the story, just what eyes who did not know the story saw. Listening is key here, that and putting aside your ego, because not all news is good news.
     So now you are reading this saying “But I have no magical Dev. Editor”  or even worse “Ain’t nobody got money for that”  Here are some things you can do for yourself as things to try to find your book’s path.
  1. Do a synopsis. First, just free form it. Did you have to tell me a lot of backstory so I would understand the book? (the first time I did!!) She asked for under 1000 words, the one I gave her was almost 4K, and I hung my head in shame as I hit send.  I could not find the center story, My secondary characters were so complex I was telling all about their stories!!
  2. Now take the synopsis and thin it again. We want to try to make your brain find the core. SO I suggest that now you have gotten to your 1000 words, you take it to 250, then 3 sentences then just one!
  3. Nail your trope and genre. Have you looked at this? this is the hardest one for me personally, I still am not sure I am doing this right all the time. The point of it is that each type of story has a certain rhythm and points that you must hit along the journey, do you have all of these and are they in the expected order? That was an eye opener for me, I thought I was being creative, but instead I was just making the flow off.
     The great thing about these things is that you are still working on your story, but they don’t’ take as long as rewrites. There is NO point in rewriting it over and over if you have not found the flaw to fix. In my opinion you can redo it a hundred times but without the map to the flaw you are just digging random holes looking for treasure. You have gold in there, you just need to find the big X …
     The final thing to remember is that there are a very large portion of fantastic authors out there who will tell you flat-out, “My first book never saw the light of day.” We learn through practise. Keep writing, you get better with every book. My first published book was really a double dog dare to myself at times, just to have the backbone to leave it up. It is like sharing a secret diary with the world at first.  Then , as you get better at the craft you just want to constantly go fix it! Improve it! Turn it into a bionic book. *Insert the sounds of a bionic book climbing the charts here* The saving grace for me was the reviews. The random strangers who took the few extra minutes to stop in and tell me “Hey, keep writing, we want more!” That for me is what makes it all worth it.


One last day to win the signed paperback copies of BURN FOR ME and WHITE HOT (advanced read copy, not yet for sale) by Ilona Andrews

Rewards Fuel social media contests

THE Bad Wolf by Tim McGregor

Ok, first I should just come out and say it, I have a serious crush on this cover. SO serious I actually showed the husband and forced him to put on glasses so he “could get a real good look at it.” I can’t explain it. This is just how true love works. Magic.

Once I was able to stop staring at the cover I dug into what was a very well written crime novel. It is well placed in the category of “Mystery and Suspense” instead of being pigeon holed as a werewolf story. We follow Lara, a freshly promoted homicide detective, who has been moved up to keep her new partner in line. In some ways I could make several rather hilarious (ok, at least to me) Lethal Weapon jokes if Lara were only an old black man about to retire. Garrison, her new partner, is clearly off his rails. Everything goes instantly “to cutting the crap to get to the confession”. He takes no pause, shoots from the hip, punches first, asking questions later, and would much rather work alone. Lara has a few tricks up her sleeve and from time to time manages to impress him (and me). I was glued to my kindle as the story played out, I rather enjoyed the twists and turns and a few “No don’t open that door” moments like any scary story would provide.  The incorporation of the paranormal into what seemed to everyone to be a straightforward murder case was a fun twist. The development of the Wolf was very well done.  There are some things here that I just refuse to spoil, but let me just say, that moment with the priest, well done Mr. McGregor. I very much enjoyed that.

This book has been out for a few years. This series of three are all published and available. This first book is also free, that is right FREE.  Personally I thought that the story ended well (as well as that can at least) but there were a few reviews complaining of cliffhangers. I personally disagree, I felt the author did a great job closing it all up, but the last page does leave us ready for book two!  We will be hosting an author chat with Tim McGregor over in PaperSisters Book Club on June 22nd. Hope to see you there.

Book Description:

Detective Lara Mendes’s hard work pays off when she finally gets to join the homicide detail. There’s only one catch; she has to partner up with a cop no one wants to work with.

John Gallagher is a veteran homicide detective who wants nothing more than to work alone. When the Lieutenant partners him with Lara Mendes, his first reaction is to ditch her but a call comes in about a body on the river bank and the rotation says they’re up.

What they find are human remains, mutilated and partially devoured. Their investigation reveals a killer stalking the city with a pack of vicious, feral dogs.
And the suspect believes he is a werewolf.

But this is Portland, where crazy bastards outnumber normal ones ten to one. Except there’s another catch. The crazy werewolf guy? He isn’t crazy…

Author’s note: Bad Wolf is my first novel and remains a favourite. This free full-length novel is the first in the Bad Wolf series about two homicide detectives trying to stop a monster. A murder mystery and police procedural, it’s premise is simple; cops versus werewolves. I had an absolute blast writing this series. Now that’s it’s done, I miss these characters. The books, in order, are:

1 Bad Wolf
2 Pale Wolf
3 Last Wolf

This free book is the gateway to a world of monsters, gritty detectives and the werewolves that haunt the moonlit night.


Ilona Andrews WHITE HOT Giveaway

After a long and frustrating Friday I am excited to announce that the give away is set up.

I was able to meet Ilona and Andrew Gordon (pen name Ilona Andrews) at the Austin stop on the Kisscon Promotional tour. At that event I got a copy of BURN FOR ME as well as a promotional copy of WHITE HOT. Ilona and Andrew were kind enough to sign these for the give away!

Facebook contests by Rewards Fuel

This contest will run the week, you will have to be able to provide a mailing address for your prize should you win.
This contest is run by me (C Patt) and has no affiliation with Ilona Andrews or Kisscon
This is open internationally, but you MUST have a mailing address to be able to receive your prize.
Winner chosen at random by “Contests by Fuel Rewards”

Word to your Mother…

I spent over an hour yesterday standing in front of my scanner, one of many to come. Years ago my mom gave me shoe boxes full of letters that she would write to my grandmother. I put them aside, not really giving them much though until recently. Mom passed away and anything that had to do with her was frankly just too hard to  think about. Just seeing her handwriting started tugging at my leaky eyes. It was rather entertaining to read through them as I worked. I started in a random year (the first box I pulled out) and found that she would literally write about the day to day things that were going on in our lives. Some of it swiftly triggered memories, others I pondered on how I could forget.

Mom was always very involved and very craft oriented. We were all (I have 3 sisters) in the Girl Scouts starting at the Brownie level, I even found Mom’s official girl scout membership card, circa 1956. She goes on to detail various crafts we made, talks about clothes, birthday and Christmas gifts, and things of a general mother nature. At one point she discusses with my grandmother the virtues of making me wait for my ears to be pierced. I had pestered her since age 8. She insisted I had to wait. It was almost word for word a conversation I would later repeat, often, with my own daughter. I didn’t realize how much it really stuck with me.  Really, it is an interesting journey to travel back to your own childhood.

dear mom

I wondered, in this digital age, what I am leaving for my own kids. Digital cameras weren’t around when my son was born, hell I had a pager when my daughter was born, and I am a horrible letter writer. (Seriously challenged in that area) I knew my lack of correspondence was poor that I always typed up a 4 page Christmas letter (with pictures) and sent it out once a year, but even that has fallen by the wayside in the last few years. Now all of my own news is issued via emails and facebook.

And then it dawned on me. Mom made certain we always had a video camera. The husband and I started our own business prior to the children, but for those lean years money was always an issue. Mom understood that, and reading the letters I see it is something all young parents go through. Her gift to my children was their childhood in living color, with sound. They may not have boxes of letters from me, but they will have hours upon hours of home movies. My husband started converting them all to DVD last year. The cameras are all now obsolete, and the ability to watch them without dvd access rapidly moving that direction. He spent hours and hours dedicated to this task, and I was happy he did it. I don’t think I really understood how much until last night.