Thursday, December 11, 2014

Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing: Humorous suspense author Kathy McIntosh, Giveaways

Hello and welcome to the series, Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing. I scheduled this series on writing tips for the fall months, but I have had such wonderful response from romance and mystery authors, the guest blogs are now scheduled into February! So you may have noticed I changed the poster, taking out "this fall" since we are now into the holiday season. I hope you are gathering some great tips you can use in your writing, meeting and getting to know authors, and discovering great reads.

Needless to say I'm having a wonderful experience with authors and readers during this series. Thank you so much for supporting this event with your views and comments.

This week I am happy to introduce you to author Kathy McIntosh.  Kathy is generously donating an ebook copy and audio book of her first book, Mustard's Last Stand, in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series for door prizes. Two winners! Please leave a comment to enter.
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Kathy, thanks so much for guesting on the Romance and Mystery Authors on Writing series.
Thanks for a lovely opportunity!
1  What is the best advice for writers that you have received?
The first but definitely not the last time I heard this hint came when Ridley Pearson spoke to Murder in the Grove (a conference I co-founded). He advised writers to keep our butts in our chairs. It later inspired me to write the following as a winning contest entry:

Make writing a whole body experience. Keep your chin up, your feet on the ground, your mind limber and open to new lessons and ideas, your heart set on the goal of becoming a published writer, and your butt in the chair. 

Great advice for sure, but oh some days, it is impossible to do! 

What is your writing tip on Editing?
Alliteration, rhythm and cadence can help you create a memorable voice in your writing. However, these must be added with intention and a light hand. Novelists whose books you can’t put down may have used the rhythm of their words to enchant you. Books that get thrown across the room may have inadvertently abused or overused these devices.
I'm fond of alliteration, but it is easy to fall prey to too much. Do so and the rigorous reader will wish you wouldn't. Giving your characters names that start with the same letter is a form of inadvertent alliteration that can easily confuse your readers. Barney, Bert and Bartholomew are all fine names, but let them appear in separate manuscripts. Even when used for humorous purposes (the triplets, Martha, Margaret and Maeve) you risk confusion. A confused reader may not pick up the book again.
What's going on in your book can influence your choice of rhythm or cadence. Short sentences using short words work well in fast-paced, high tension scenes. Longer, leisurely sentences can set a quieter pace and add a sumptuous tone. 
Alternating short and long sentences changes the rhythm of your words. It's my opinion that you don't find your rhythm in a first draft, but rather recognize it and change it intentionally in second and subsequent drafts. One great way to discover the rhythm (or lack thereof) of your words is to read it aloud. You can also use text to speech software programs such as NaturalReader or Ultra Hal TTS (I love that name) or Text2Speech or TextAloud that will convert your text to spoken words. Most have free versions.
Rhyme works well when you’re creating a slogan or a tagline or a poem. However, inadvertent rhyme in serious writing can bump your reader. I’d chat more about rhyme, but I haven’t the time.
Next time you’re editing an article or some pages from your fiction, take the time to make your words memorable by adding alliteration, rhythm and rhyme.
But remember:  a smidgeon of these devices suffices.
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Kathy McIntosh writes about 
wacky characters seeking justice, 
environmental balance 
and great scones in North Idaho.  
Back of the Book:
Havoc overtakes a peaceful North Idaho town when feuding brothers combat a proposed safari camp. Mustard's Last Stand is the first in the Havoc in Hancock humorous suspense series.
 BUY LINK          

About Kathy:
Kathy McIntosh, a recent voluntary transplant from Boise, Idaho, to Tucson, Arizona, is enjoying the change in scenery from cottonwoods to cactus.
She recently saw three javelinas strolling through her neighborhood! She assures her concerned readers that she can still write about Havoc in Hancock, her humorous suspense series set in North Idaho, and will finish book two, Foul Wind, as soon as she rappels from the stack of moving boxes! Read more at Kathy's website 
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Don't forget to leave a comment. Two winners will be chosen from the commenters after 9 p.m. on Sunday evening. Good luck!


  1. Wonderful advice. I find reading my story out loud helps me pick up on awkward phrases.
    Your book sounds like fun. As an animal lover I always enjoy a story with critters in it.
    Congratulations and best of luck to you.
    Great interview,J. Q.

  2. Hi Beverly, I am going to try reading the story outloud, but not too pick up errors. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I'm sorry there's a captcha here. It just appeared and I can't discover how to remove it. If anyone has a plan, let me know. Blogger has removed the word verification button in the new dashboard.

  4. Kathy, thanks for the list of text-to-speech programs. I sent my Word doc to my Kindle Fire and Kindle converted it for me and sent it right to the Kindle reader. They've improved that process. They used to send the file to the computer and I had to drag it into the Kindle. Problem is the reader is a computer and all monotone. Do these programs you noted read with meaning or flat sounding like Kindle, Kathy?

  5. First, thanks so much for hosting me today, J.Q. Would have been here earlier, but my computer was giving me grief. (Plus we're in remodel heck!)
    I have heard that the free voices sound fairly monotone and one must pay for good voices. But perhaps someone else has had actual experience!

  6. Beverly, thanks for your kind words about my book. I'm an animal lover as well. Need to put photos of my pets on my website.
    And yes, reading aloud finds so many glitches, even though it takes that precious commodity, time.

  7. Thanks for the great tips, Kathy! I love the idea of alternating short and long sentences.

  8. Oops! Forgot to mention that my post today is on grammar, and it includes a great recipe for Cranberry-Orange Scones, a holiday favorite at our home. Here's the link:

  9. I have to admit that I've not consciously tried the rhythm method...*ahem* to my writing. I just-- write. But can't dispute when it works so well for others. :)

    Love the title and love humor! Great to meet you, Kathy. :)

  10. All good advice, Kathy. We all need to find the rhythm. And it definitely helps to keep the butt in the chair, though Hemingway preferred to write standing up.

  11. Miss Mae,
    Lovely to meet you and your delightful sense of humor. I think you'll find THIS rhythm method works! :)

  12. JR. Hemingway must have had better knees than I do! I didn't know he wrote standing; maybe that's why he was terse.:)

  13. Great advice, Kathy! And as someone who has read and very much enjoyed Mustard's Last Stand, whoever wins is in for a treat!

    Also, I wanted to mention that Kathy is a great cook, so I'm headed over to her blog for that recipe too!

  14. Ooh, Kathy, the scones sound delicious.

  15. Hi Heather, thanks for stopping in. Hope you're staying warm and out of the rotten weather

  16. Hi MM, I told Kathy the title and the book cover makes me giggle every time I see it.

  17. jlinderman, I believe we refer to that as using butt glue.!! Thanks for stopping in.

  18. Hi Conda,I am definitely going to have to read the Last Stand now. Sounds like a fun read for the holidays.

  19. Great reminders about the power of our words. I always read my manuscripts out loud. Using one of the devices you mention might be even better. So long as they don't read like a computer :-)

    This is a great column, JQ. I'm glad you started it. I love reading the tips from other writers. We are always learning something new.

  20. Heather, good to meet you! Glad you liked my suggestions.

  21. Thanks for dropping by, Joan. Once I try one of those s/w readers out, I'll post a review. And I, too, have learned so much from these columns. Thanks, JQ!

  22. Your book looks and sounds like a lot of fun, Kathy. I hope I win the ebook copy. ;-)

    You comments about using names with the same first letters is a good point - even though I've done it a bit myself in my book. There are just too many men's names that start with "J" in this world. LOL

  23. Joan, you make my heart happy. The whole purpose of this series is to help each other with our wriing by sharing the tips. Thanks so much!

  24. HI Pearl, my crit group jumped all over me when I had characters named Roger and Randy. So now I have Emmett and Randy. As a reader, I appreciate the different first letters of the names because I read quickly, so it doesn't slow me down to have to be sure which R name I am reading about. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment. I'll be rootin' for ya[ to win the drawing!!

  25. Great advice, Kathy, thank you! Editing can be hard work, and these are great tips to polish your ms. I love the tip on making writing a whole body process. I manage to get my butt in a chair most days, but I often slump in it! Good to meet you through JQ's blog

  26. Hi Helena. Yes I am afraid slumping is part of the process. Grab a hot cup of tea and it will perk you up. Even better with a Christmas cookie (biscuit)! ☺

  27. I'm delighted to meet you, as well, Helena.Thanks for your comments; I hope my tips are helpful. I'm grateful to J.Q. for providing this forum.

  28. Congratulations to the two winners of the drawing Miss Mae and JRLindermuth! Thank you Kathy for your prizes!!

  29. I so enjoyed our brief visit and the lively conversation.
    Thanks for hosting me, J Q!
    Prizes will be on their way, only a little delayed by the remodeling project taking place in our hovel/home!


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