So, it’s been a while…for a lot of things…

Hello out there…

I realize it’s been quite a while since I posted anything here.  There just hasn’t been much to post about, and I’m no good at posting for the sake of posting.  I posted about the release of my newest novel, Scorched Earth, when it came out last fall.  Then Australia pretty much caught on fire, and I posted about that–how I thought Scorched Earth was perhaps a little far-fetched as I wrote it, and how the fires in Australia were proving me wrong.  I figured no way could an area the size of the Nebraska panhandle *really* burn down.  And I’m being proven wrong again by the fires right now in California, Washington, Oregon, and elsewhere.  

I started a new novel back in December.  This would be my 11th title overall.  I decided to try a new approach.  As some of you may know, I’m a dedicated outliner.  I plan out my plots, the timing, and so forth before I begin drafting.  Why?  A lot of reasons.  For one, the nature of my plots often demands that I have the timing of events right.  I’d rather do that in an outline than while wrangling a novel-length manuscript.  Another important reason is to give myself an easy-to-pick-up roadmap so if I get tied up with work or other things I can easily jump back in where I left off in the draft and get moving.  For this one, I decided to try pantsing it.  Why not, right?

So I started a novel where the protagonist is on the road, fleeing something, trying to get somewhere.  The country around her is deserted, a wasteland (she’s in the Midwest right now, where there should be plenty of farming activity).  I like what I’ve written so far, but I didn’t decide at the outset what the underlying problem was.  And so I got stuck, despite a good start.  It’s at a point where I need to know what she’s running from/to.

And the the pandemic hit.  I am fortunate to be able to work from home and stay safe.  But, to be honest, it’s making it even harder to pick up on writing this novel.  Those of you familiar with my work know I tend toward the dystopian on a regular basis.  And right now, I just can’t seem to muster the urge to write dystopian when it seems like dystopia is all around us.  I’ve not given up on the novel, but I am feeling stalled out.  

Do people even want to read dystopian novels in this environment?  I don’t know.  I do know I just can’t find it in me to switch to writing romance novels!

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending time with this little beauty…started playing dulcimer almost two years ago, then picked up a Fender acoustic guitar last December.  And then this…love my shell pink Strat!  (In the interest of full disclosure, I have a long way to go…still very much learning, so no gigs for me!)

Strat shoot from NEF to JPEG

And I thought I was writing fiction…

Apparently not.

My newest novel, Scorched Earth, takes a look at what it might be like to live in extreme drought conditions.  What would day-to-day life be like?  The economy?  I envisioned the criminalization of water waste, massive unchecked wildfires large enough to engulf the Nebraska panhandle, and more.  My characters, Jake and Lexi and their baby daughter Ava, are forced to flee their home–fast–when a huge fire takes aim at their town.  They think life will be better in California, and take off through Nevada with a hasty plan.  Let’s just say things don’t go as planned for them…

I started writing this novel back in early 2017, wrapped it up and sent it to my publisher about a year ago.  When I started on the book, big fires were certainly in the news–but nothing like the mega-fires we’re seeing in so many places, and especially in California right now.

I really thought I was writing something a bit over the top, a dystopian near-future novel.  Fiction.  It frightens and saddens me that it isn’t so fictional after all.  My heart goes out to all the people affected and all the firefighters putting their lives on the line.

My 10th title, Scorched Earth, has arrived!

Well, mostly.  The paperback was released today on Amazon, and the ebook is available for preorder, should be available mid-September.

I’m very excited about this book.  I began working on it in early 2017, wanted to do a climate-change/drought-related thriller this time around.  I had no way to know it would become as topical as it has, with all the horrendous, tragic fires that have taken place in the meantime.

I hope you check it out…and that you have pleasant dreams…or not!

Find it on Amazon

Scorched Earth cover

Coming soon…from Crossroad Press

Scorched Earth, my latest nightmare.

In the year 2032, a record-breaking drought grips the nation. Tinder-dry conditions fuel massive fires. Water reserves plummet to new and dangerous lows. Draconian water laws punish even minimal waste without mercy. And there’s no relief in sight.

A fast-moving inferno ignites in Western Nebraska, driving Jake and Lexi from their home in the middle of the night with almost no time to pack up their belongings. They flee west on the interstate, along with their infant daughter Ava, hoping the fire will soon be contained and they can return home.

Instead, the fire races out of control, quickly consuming much of the Nebraska Panhandle, forcing Jake and Lexi to decide on a hasty relocation plan. They hit the road through the Nevada desert, heartbroken over the widespread destruction and their loss, but hoping to find a new and better life out West.

But the road takes them places they never could have expected…places they never wanted to go.

Jake and Lexi thought they’d already lost everything to the fire. They were wrong.

Which road should you take when escape is only an illusion?

Scorched Earth cover

A question for fellow authors and readers…

I have a question for my fellow authors and readers. A long time ago (in a prior life), my doctor (at the time) told me that he really loved Pat Conroy’s writing, that the descriptions were so gorgeous. I read Prince of Tides and remember enjoying it. I started The Great Santini the other day and am blown away by the stunning descriptions. Really fantastic. But…
 
When I write, I only write through one character’s POV at a time. I write vivid descriptions, but I have to write them in that character’s voice. I’d love to free myself to write lyrical descriptions as Conroy does, but that would not be true to the voice of my typical characters. He’s obviously writing as the omniscient narrator and describing as he pleases.
 
Fellow authors/readers, what are your thoughts on the matter? What do you prefer to write? What do you prefer to read?

Sponsoring the Seattle Review of Books this week…

They have a cool setup where you can sponsor their site for a week, and in return they post an excerpt from your book (or announcement of your event) for the week.  Check it out–Chapter 1 of my recent release, Down the Brink, for your reading pleasure:

Seattle Review of Books

Nice little blurb of the book by them:  Read it here

I’m back at the ITW Thriller Roundtable for the next couple of weeks…

Check out this week’s topic:  ITW Thriller Roundtable June 4-11, 2018

ITW Giveaways for 3 of my titles…NOW!

I’m running giveaways for signed paperback copies of several of my more recent titles right now on the International Thriller Writers site.

Contest ends midnight PST on May 20, 2018.

All you need to do is post a comment.  I’ll pick the winners at random and sign/send out the books.  Good luck!

For MOON OVER RUIN

For DOWN THE BRINK

For INCIDENTAL FINDINGS, a Nikki Avalon thriller

Reflections on 5 years as a published novelist

I like to keep track of anniversaries.  I’m just that kind of person.  I like to think back on where I was, compare it to where I am now, that sort of thing.  Some anniversaries, of course, are more momentous than others.  And this is one of them.

Five years ago today, my very first novel (THE GENESIS CODE) came out.  I never thought I’d see that day, and I remember how excited I was (pretty much giddy with hope and dreams, as I recall).  I had been writing short stories, getting some publications and honing my skills, since 2000 or so.  Then around 2003/2004, I decided to try writing a full-length novel.  I had a story, but no publisher in mind.  I’d never attempted a work of that length.  I just wanted to do it, do the best I could, and see what happened.

It took something like two and a half years.  I started and restarted.  I got stuck along the way.  I had characters box themselves into corners that didn’t work.  It felt very much like getting into a small boat, launching off into the ocean, and losing sight of land–and hoping I made it safely to some undetermined destination.  But I eventually finished it, felt it was the best I could do.

Then law school happened.  I decided to leave IT behind and attend full time beginning back in 2006.  And I had time for nothing else during those three years (well, more than that, if you count the summer of studying for the bar exam, then the relocation, etc.).  So I stopped writing fiction and the manuscript sat.  I only shopped it to a few places during that time.  Nothing happened and I had pretty much resigned myself to it never seeing the light of day.

Then one day, Greg Gifune posted on Facebook that DarkFuse was looking for novels.  Long story short, I submitted it, and DarkFuse published it five years ago today.

A lot has happened since then.  I’ve written a number of novels (medical/tech/legal thrillers) and novellas (horror and supernatural).  DarkFuse published most of them before shutting down last year.  Crossroad Press picked me up and republished all my backlist, as well as a couple of completed titles DarkFuse hadn’t gotten to yet.  I self-published a novella last year.  And I’m busy with the fourth draft of my current novel-in-progress.  All this while working full time.  So now I have a total of nine titles out, one in the works, and ideas for more.

I wonder what the next five years will bring.  Will my style change?  Will my subjects or genres change?  (One thing’s for sure:  you’ll see no romance novels from me!)  Will my series character in INCIDENTAL FINDINGS (Nikki Avalon) take off and launch a whole stack of novels?

It’ll be interesting to see what I write on the next major anniversary.  At least I hope so!

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

 

Check out my author page at Crossroad Press…

As things stand right now, I have 9 titles published, 8 of them with Crossroad Press.  The exception is my novella, Moon Over Ruin, which I self-published on Amazon last year.  Crossroad Press sets up its author pages in a rather cool way.  By choosing under Options, you can pick the source of the ebook:  Amazon, Apple, Kobo, BN, or Smashwords.  Whatever suits your fancy, all tidy in one place.

Here it is, my Author Page at Crossroad Press

Thanks for reading!

Lisa