Sue Grafton Will Be Missed

Saying Goodbye To A Legend

My heart was saddened today to see the report that Sue Grafton has passed away at the age of 77. According to her daughter, Grafton had battled two long years with cancer. To her family I say, “I am so very sorry for your loss!” The world of mystery readers is saddened, too.  At least I know I am.

It is difficult for me to fathom that it has been 35 years since I read her first book in the Kinsey Millhone series, also known as the alphabet series. The first book, A is for Alibi (paid link) made me an avid fan. I loved the character of Kinsey from the get go! Kind of a smart-ass and yet slightly broken. She was believable back then and remained so in all of the books that followed. That took some good writing, folks!

When the series was first released, we readers heard the ambitious goal of the author which was that she wanted to write a series of books for every letter in the alphabet. It kind of became a game for her fans to guess what the title would be for each novel before it was released. Pretty ingenious when you think about it. I don’t know whether she thought about it or not but her goal created a marketing plan that would last for a long time. We call it branding now, but back then it was just a brilliant stroke of genius.

Sue Grafton Ends The Alphabet With Y

Sadly, Sue didn’t get all the way through the alphabet. She almost made it ending with Y is for Yesterday; only one letter to go. Her daughter Jamie released a statement on Sue’s website announcing the passing of her mother. In the statement she reminds her fans that Sue was adamant that a ghost writer would never write under her name. It touched my heart when Jamie says that as far as the family is concerned the alphabet now ends with Y. That brought tears to my eyes!

I think that it is safe to say that Sue Grafton will be sorely missed by her loving family along with her millions of fans. Thank you for your wonderful work throughout the years with believable characters and plots. May you rest in peace dear lady!

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Inspired By Stephen King

I Wish I Could Write Like Stephen King

I was late in becoming a fan of Stephen King, I had always avoided his books because I was under the impression that he only wrote in the horror genre. When I saw that he had written a book about the Kennedy Assassination back in 2011, I decided that I would take a look at it. As with many Americans in my generation, I distinctly remember the day they killed our president. I became a fan of Stephen King before I finished the first page of his book!

kennedy motorcade
Photo of the Kennedys and Connallys in the Presidential car in Dallas JFK Assassination Materials: Warren Commission Document CD 727 File Name: CD 727_2010_001

I became engrossed in his fictional account of that fateful day.  I, also, found myself drooling over his style of writing. My reading journey of 11/22/63 (paid link) began while my husband and I began a long trip in the car. As I read that first few pages, I looked at my husband and said, “Wow, just wow!” I was already interested in the story and how he began telling it but it was more than that. He is a wordsmith; plain and simple. Six years after reading those first few pages, I still recall how he described a character in such a marvelous way that I knew the guy had cancer before he ever told us readers that in a later paragraph. That is a gift, my dear readers. An honest to goodness gift!

Suffice it to say, it was a book that I had trouble putting down and I told everyone I ran into that they should read it, too. When I read the final chapter, I was disappointed.  Not with his story but that I was no longer to be captivated by his words.

A series of tomes worth the time to read

I mentioned to my son-in-law that I had so loved reading Stephen King but as good as he was at descriptive writing I was truly afraid to read any of his horror books. I was certain that he would literally scare the bee-jeeze-us out of me. That is when my dear son by marriage introduced me to the Dark Tower (paid link) series. This set of books are more in the fantasy fiction genre and they did not disappoint me at all. Well, truth be told I don’t think Mr. King would ever disappoint me with his work.

I have always wanted to write my own books and now I have actually started to do just that. My goal is to become maybe one fourth as good a wordsmith as Stephen King. I know that I will never be half as good or ever attain his ability in turning words into pictures but if I could just be 25% as good well that would be something!

Don’t allow yourself to not read something by Stephen King if you think that all he writes are horror stories. Take a gander at some of his other novels that fit into fantasy fiction. You will not be disappointed, I am sure. Experience a true craftsman in telling a tale with the ability to put words together that bring the images straight to your head.

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Getting Started

My Beginning As An Author

In September of 2017, I decided to finally take the plunge and finally write that novel that had been on my bucket list since I was about 10 years old. We won’t go into the specifics of how long it took me finally address that item on the list; suffice it to say it was decades before I finally believed that I could actually accomplish it.

Deciding that it was an accomplishment that was attainable, I came up with a reasonable schedule for myself. I planned to write every day for at least a couple of hours. In other words, I approached my task as if I were going to a job. Writing is work and I knew that I needed to give it the same sort of ethic that I did when I still worked outside of the home. I will admit that some days I worked a good eight hours at it and other days perhaps only four. I did not miss one day as I began my journey.

Author’s fingers typing away!

In between the actual writing times, there was research involved. I needed to know what the parameters were for the genre that I was writing in. I had decided that I wanted to write at least one Cozy Mystery. Once I knew what the acceptable amount of was for the word count, I really started to pay attention to how many words I wrote each day.

The was also the dilemma of whether I wanted to try to find a publisher or if I wanted to go independent. My choice was the indie route and I don’t regret it one bit. On another day, I plan to discuss the format that I used to self-publish.

Working each day became a joy and didn’t really feel like work. I was surprised at how easily the book began to take shape. Finally, in October of 2017 my first book was ready, well, almost ready. There was the editing phase that had to be addressed. I read through it several times, fixing mistakes as I went. It occurred to me that I really needed to get another pair of eyes to look at it, too.

Being a novice at this whole process and not really feeling comfortable with hiring an editor, I went with an option that I felt good about. I asked one of my daughters to read it for me as an editor and not as a family member. That worked out well! She found more mistakes in typing and grammar and she gave me some thoughts on some areas that might need a little more definition or clarity. She was really quite helpful in the process. After going back and forth for a few days, I was finally ready to start the publishing process.

There was a bit of a learning curve involved in the correct formatting for a digital book and a paperback version but I muddled through it. Finally around the middle of October 2017, my book went live. I was ecstatic to say the least!

Once that first book was live, I decided this needed to be a series of books. By November book two in the series was complete and published and I am now working on book three.

I hope you will follow me in my writing journey here on this blog. I plan to tell you about things that I do in my off time (not writing) and I will also talk about authors who inspire me, my favorite books, my pool of inspirations for the actual stories I write, character backgrounds and maybe even some tips that I have found useful along the way.  Of course, there will also be announcements of book launches, too.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will return on a regular basis and if you are so inclined…like my page on Facebook. Beverly Owens, Author 

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