Someone once came up with the following equation for successfully completing a novel: Butt + chair = book. After publishing eight novels I can attest to the truthfulness of this equation! Though a simple formula, it is the best way to get a novel competed.
My husband, Will Zeilinger, also a published author and I joined “talents” and wrote a 1950’s noir murder mystery…Slivers of Glass. Noir is something I always wanted to write but couldn’t figure out how to get into a guy’s head effectively. When I mentioned this to my husband he said, “So let’s do one together.” Hence this partnership began.
People warned us that it would tarnish our marriage. They insisted it wouldn’t work. Concerned, we took a business approach and set rules of professionalism, respect and overall patience.
Here are some things we did to make it work:
- Meetings We set regular meetings and met weekly or monthly depending on where we were in the manuscript and PR. We made sure we had a definite beginning and end time for all meetings.
- Agenda Our meetings ALWAYS included an agenda to keep the discussions on track, review our deadlines, and where the book should be at each point in the journey.
- Respect difference of opinions. It’s important to check your ego at the door when meeting about the book or project. No one on the team is 100% right or wrong at all times. Find a medium you can agree to.
- A sense of humor Laughter can decrease anxiety when self doubt hits. Like brainstorming, it’d difficult to do it by yourself or with a pet!
- And the most important things, we agreed and practiced the above equation.
The result-SLIVERS OF GLASS and a wonderful partnering experience for the both of us. And by the way, we are still married!!
A very popular dessert in the 1950’s, served at the famous Coconut Grove Night Club in Los Angeles. The “Grove” was known for its great cuisine. The Coconut Grove is featured in one of the scenes in Slivers of Glass, a Noir murder Mystery.
2 oranges or tangerines
Shredded coconut, unsweetened
Peel the oranges or tangerines, pull the pieces apart; cut the pieces across the middle. Peel the bananas and cut them into thin slices.
Cover the bottom of the bowl with orange pieces. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of sugar over the oranges (depending on the sweetness of the oranges/tangerines). Put some banana slices on oranges, and then sprinkle a little coconut over bananas.
Do the same thing for the next layer, first the oranges, sugar, bananas and coconut. Make more layers, using all the fruit.
Sprinkle coconut on top. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour. Serves 3-4
Slivers of Glass
Southern California 1955: the summer Disneyland opened, but even “The Happiest Place on Earth” couldn’t hide the smell of dirty cops, corruption and murder.
The body of a woman thought to be killed three years earlier is found behind a theater in Hollywood. Movie stuntman Skylar Drake, a former LAPD detective, is dragged into the investigation. He can make no sense of the crime until he discovers a dirty underworld and unearths deep-seated… greed.
The hunt takes Drake to places he’d never expect. He’s anxious to close this case and get back to his business in L.A., but he’s constantly haunted by the memory of his wife and young daughter, killed in a mysterious house fire.
With more than enough dirty cops, politicians and crime bosses to go around, Drake can trust no one including Martin Card, the cop assigned to work with him.
Buy link: website:
There were a dozen other things I could’ve been doing besides standing in line at the drug store listening to Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” piped in overhead. Though, it was a treat to watch the cashier move behind the counter in her form-fitting white smock. I shook my head and plopped a tube of Pepsodent and a couple of toothbrushes on the pharmacy counter.
She looked up and said, “That will be seventy-five cents, Mr. Drake.”
I dug in my pocket and dropped three quarters in her hand, “Thank you, Miss Abernathy.” She placed my items in a small white paper bag and folded over the top. “Here you are, and quit calling me that. My name is Emily. Anyway, this should keep you smiling brightly. I only wish I could see yours sometime.”
In all the times I’ve walked to this drug store, I couldn’t remember a day she didn’t smile at me. Too bad there was a ‘y’ at the end of Emily’s name. Women with names like Sandy, Cathy or Abby were bad luck. Those ‘y’ women were always trouble and it would be dangerous to get mixed up with another one now.
“Thanks,” I tipped my hat, “When I have something to smile about, I might just show you.” I knew Emily pretty well since this place was only a couple of blocks from my apartment, an apartment I lived in because a fire took my home along with my beautiful wife Claire and Ellen my little girl.
As I turned to leave, I winked at the two little old ladies behind me. They stepped back and stared as if I’d just sneezed in their faces. I turned and waved goodbye to Emily only to see her pointing behind me in horror. I followed her gaze and saw a dark green car hurtling toward us – right through the huge windows at the front of the store! The gigantic crash at my back sent shelves, boxes and cans hurtling in our direction. I turned around as glass, smoke and debris seemed to explode in a cloud around us. At that moment my training from the Marine Corps took over. I instinctively swept up the two ladies and Emily and pushed them to the back of the store. The other customers ran screaming out the huge opening where the storefront windows used to be. I shielded the women against the back wall with my body all the while knowing that my weight could suffocate them, but what else could I do? The ceiling could come down on us at any moment. I held them against the wall while listening to my heart pound. Slowly the tinkle of glass subsided and I released them. Tiny slivers of glass and wood had embedded themselves in my sweater and trousers. “You’d better be careful,” One of the little old women chirped, “Your backside looks like a pin cushion. Best not to sit down for a while.”
JANET ELIZABETH LYNN was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of Southern California.
Janet has always wanted to write and made it a quest to write a novel. Ten years later, with much blood and sweat, her first murder mystery novel, South of the Pier, was published in 2011. She has since written seven more mysteries. Miss Lynn has traveled to the far reaches of the planet for work and for pleasure, collecting wonderful memories, new found friends and a large basket of shampoo and conditioner samples from hotels.
At one time Janet was an Entertainment Editor for a newspaper in Southern California.
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4-KRRAbyUA
WILL ZEILINGER has been writing for over twelve years. During that time, he took novel writing classes and joined writer’s groups, but what has helped the most are published authors who mentor, encourage, critique and listen to him while he continued to learn the craft. At the time of this writing, Will has published three novels (Ebooks.) The Naked Groom, Something’s Cooking at Dove Acres, and The Final Checkpoint (also in print).
As a youth he lived overseas with his family. As an adult he traveled the world. Will lives in Southern California with his wife Janet Elizabeth Lynn, who is also an author. Will says that finding time to write while life happens is a challenge.