I’m Nancy, and I have a problem.
Okay, I admit it. I’m in danger of becoming a webinar junkie. And it’s seriously encroaching on my writing output. What? You too? I guess we’ve come to the right place, then. Let’s talk.
Of course we all want to write better, create the next New York Times bestseller. I’ve never heard any of my writer friends say, “Nah. Not me. I just write for my own enjoyment.” Bosh. We want our stories to be read, and not only by grandma and aunt Edith.
But what’s a writer to do? Of course we want that glory (and that money. Or at least enough to buy printer ink). It isn’t that we’re not willing to work for it. But should it be so difficult? Shouldn’t we just be able to work at our trade, get the books finished, put them out there either traditionally with a publisher (if we’re lucky), or self-publish now that it’s so easy, and hope for the best?
Ay, there’s the rub. That isn’t enough. There’s work to be done. And help is only a click away. Trust the webinars.
There are so many pundits reaching out from cyberspace, creeping into my computer or my iPad, even my iPhone, showing up unbidden in my gMail, all dangling the most tempting of carrots (Success! Read on!), all more than willing to gobble up my time as they offer me their expertise. All I need to do is sit back, watch and listen to learn from this latest oh-so-earnest speaker how I, too, can crack that glass ceiling that’s keeping me from publication heaven.
Surely I must want to learn how to write faster; that’s bound to beef up my output, and of course, my income (which needs a boost, for sure!) To hear some of these presenters tell it, I could be—should be—turning out a book a month, at least. Hey, they’ll help, yes they will, just listen for the next hour and a half and you’ll be convinced . . .
Unquestionably, any working writer should be open to delving deeper into their characters, right? Writing the kind of people whose inner turmoil grabs readers by the throat and won’t let them go? What? Your heroine was abused by her stepbrother? How can you make sure your reader understands what she goes through to overcome those memories now that she’s attracted to the hunk who lives in the next apartment? Don’t you want to get into her deepest, most heart-wrenching feelings and tackle them, bring her up into the light of Happy Ever After? Try this new approach to get down and intimate with your heroine, connect with her very soul. Just keep listening, we’ll show you how . . .
Do you want an agent? (Who doesn’t?) Here’s help for that, guaranteed! Just buy into this presenter’s one-on-one sessions and in no time you’ll have agents reaching out to you, practically begging to represent your novel. Read the gushing comments by his students who’ve gone on to the next level of success . . .
New to the writing/publishing game? Of course you need to understand what does or doesn’t work in dealing with the media in today’s world. We can do that for you, just sign on to our program and learn the ropes from our expert (details below) . . .
And of course every one of the webinars ends with those details. How much this absolutely innovative program, these however many sessions, will cost you at the specially discounted price (only available until midnight today, so don’t delay) . . .
And another hour and a half of writing time (maybe along with some ready cash if the presentation was a dandy) is gone, never to be retrieved. (Sigh)
Thanks for listening . . . coffee’s on in the back of the room.
I hope you’re smiling. And I’d love to hear your comments.
Nancy Sweetland has been writing since she received her first rejection slip at age 13 and determined to become a published writer. She is the author of seven picture books, a chapter book mystery for young readers, many short stories for juveniles and adults, three adult romances, “The Door to Love,” “Wannabe” and “The House on the Dunes.” “The Perfect Suspect,” “The Spa Murders,” and “The Virgin Murders” are available with other mysteries and short stories on Amazon.com. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin and loves to hear from readers. She can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org. For your free copy of “The Door To Love,” go to nancysweetland.com and leave your name.
Lia doesn’t believe in a happy ever after. But she never thought secrets from her past would lead to blackmail and murder, either. Or that Detective Moss, recuperating from being shot on duty, would be so appealing.
When her sister destroys important evidence, danger escalates. Lia is threatened, and it’s Moss’s job to find the murderer before he kills again.
Will a clever sting capture the killer or just put Grant in front of a bullet again? The choice—an uncertain future with Grant or a safe but lonely life—is Lia’s.
“Damien will meet us behind that tavern, early morning before anyone will be around,” Karen had said, her telephone voice stressed. “We’ll make him show us the pictures—and the negatives—before we hand anything over to him.”
“And what would that anything be?”
“You’ll see. I’ll take care of that.”
What’s she got planned? It can’t be good. Oh, Karen, Karen, always full steam ahead . . .
Not to be thwarted again, this time Lia was wearing a small video device in a flowered brooch on her blouse.Amazing what you can buy over the Internet. She lowered the backseat window just enough for Rufus to stick his nose out into the wind.
The sun was rising over pines at the east end of the tavern’s parking lot as Lia drove in, relieved to see it empty except for Damien’s silver BMW and a rusty pickup next to a dumpster. A beautiful summer morning that surely should be put to better use than meeting a dirt bag like Damien. She parked a short distance from the BMW and told Rufus to stay.
Karen swept in beside her. They got out, expecting Damien to do the same. He didn’t.
“Guess we’re supposed to come to him,” Karen muttered. “Just to let us know who’s in charge.” She carried a small duffle bag, the kind you might see on a TV crime program stuffed full of stacked bills.
Lia knew it was probably full of cut up newspapers, and that Karen wouldn’t give it to him until he’d shown them their pictures. What Lia wasn’t sure about was what would happen next. She remembered Damien’s temper when he was crossed. It wasn’t pretty.
She clicked on the video camera. If nothing else, they’d have a record of what went down. Taking a deep breath, she motioned Karen forward. Whatever came, they’d meet it together.
Damien’s driver’s window was down. He didn’t move. Didn’t call out.
Karen scowled. “Something’s wrong here.”
“Right,” Lia said. “Don’t touch anything.”
Moving with caution, they approached the silver car.
Damien was slumped in the driver’s seat. His head tilted back against the headrest. A trickle of blood ran sideways down his face from a dark hole in his left temple. The seat behind him was covered with a slimy, grey substance mixed with blood. It looked fresh. Flies buzzed around, settling on the mess. Lia’s stomach roiled. She turned away, trying not to throw up.
“Oh, God!” whispered Karen, clutching Lia’s arm. “He’s been shot! Is he—is he dead?”
Lia forced herself to look around the parking lot. Only the empty pickup, no sign of anyone. Birds chirped in the trees, sunshine crept across the lot. The beautiful summer morning had morphed into a crime scene, and they were part of it. She pulled out her phone.
“What are you doing?” Karen asked, her voice choked. “Put that away!”
“What do you think I’m doing? Calling nine-one-one.”
Karen grabbed at the phone. “Are you crazy? We have to get out of here! Let somebody else blow the whistle. We were never here. Got that? Never here!”
Lia stared. “Karen, use your head. We can’t just leave him like this.”
“Somebody already did.” Before Lia could speak, Karen thrust the duffle bag into Lia’s hand. “Take this.” She darted around the BMW, wrenched open the passenger side door and pulled out a distinctive maroon leather briefcase.
“Put that back, Karen, for God’s sake! It’s one thing to just leave him. It’s another to take that.”
“Don’t you understand?” Karen’s face was mottled red. “Our pictures are here. We have to get rid of this, then there’s no connection to us.” She rushed to her Prius and tossed the briefcase onto the passenger seat, then ran back to the BMW and wiped her fingerprints off the door with the tail of her shirt. “Come on! Let’s get out of here before somebody comes. Meet me at your shop.” Without a backward glance she slid into her car, spun her wheels and sped out of the parking lot.
Lia stared after her, hesitating with her phone in her hand. Of course she should call nine-one-one.
She didn’t. She sprinted to her van, tossed the duffel bag on the floor and, living a nightmare, left the lot and turned right onto the county road, speeding up as though the very devil were chasing her.