Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Name That Book!

The first draft of Thea Campbell #4 is done and taking a nap. I've been doing my best to leave it alone, and perhaps I'd be more successful if I didn't feel something was terribly lacking -- even at this stage. If I just had a title ...

Remember This Name-The-Book Contest?
Hey, I know! I'll hold (another) contest!

The last one was so successful that I believe I'll go down that road again. Here's the rules; 

Read the synopsis below and give me your suggestions for titles -- as many as you'd like, and I don't care if you duplicate someone else's -- either in the comment section of this blog or via email to susan @ susanschreyer dot com. 

That's it.

Everybody wins -- Yay! Like last time. Yay! -- a free e-book, and the person who submits the winning title gets their name in the book's acknowledgments. Think of it as immortality :)

Thea Campbell Mystery #4

A Rhododendron - see why Thea wants to save it?

A slippery slope of unpleasant incidents begin the New Year for Thea Campbell and fiancé Paul Hudson. The last thing they expect to find when digging up a big rhododendron next to their fire-damaged house are human bones. Word gets out and speculation runs rampant in the small town of Snohomish, Washington. Thea's aunt is among those who believe the skeleton belongs to the ghost she claims haunts the home. Others say it's a pirate from long ago killed by his captain and left to guard a buried treasure with his spirit.

Unfortunately, the county forensic team finds it difficult to make any headway in the investigation when the bones vanish almost as soon as they're uncovered.

The New Year's Eve party should take their minds off what will surely delay their home's reconstruction, but generates more commotion than celebration -- and not just between Thea and Paul. No one seems to be able to keep from being drawn into conflicts they'd normally avoid.

The problems don't stop there. Much to Paul's annoyance, the contractor hired to do work on the house seems to have the hots for Thea. Unfortunately, the contractor's leads for upgraded new appliances and fixtures provides seem suspiciously hot as well.
The Kitchen Centre
Wouldn't you be suspicious getting this for cheap, too?

On returning home from the party they find holes have mysteriously appeared in the backyard. No sooner are they repaired than they appear again.

Could the rumors be right? Could the bones really have been cursed?

An annoyed Thea finds herself hosting a séance Paul suggested as a joke, and stumbles onto a scam to feed the silliness of ghosts and buried treasure. There is surely no curse, but why go to so much trouble over a fictional legend? Then someone breaks into Paul and Thea’s temporary apartment and steals an old diary that could have provided clues to the skeleton's identity. Sure, the thief tidied up, but that only verifies, to a furious Thea, the culprit’s identity.

Then there's the issue of those vaguely threatening, digitized-voice phone calls. Thea, although mildly rattled at first, refuses to respond. But instead of being discouraged, the caller becomes more desperate and demanding. Paul, nearly frantic with worry since the messages are for Thea, is determined something be done.

There's no doubt every bizarre and unpleasant event since the discovery of the skeleton is connected. Thea and Paul need to solve the mystery and put all the madness to rest once and for all, but are they headed for a trap that will be their final rest?

Monday, January 16, 2012


I spent the entire day, yesterday, in my pajamas. I think I brushed my teeth, and I'm fairly certain I ate. I know I drank a lot of coffee.


Because I was on the home stretch.

By the time evening rolled around I'd finished the first draft of my fourth book.


Yup, pretty satisfying stuff, if I do say so myself. I'm looking forward to editing. Seriously. It's a happy, if intense, time where you mold and coax the story into its potential. I can't wait. But wait I must. In the meantime I get to do the other things I've neglected over the past few months like … clean my house.

It struck me this morning, while I was drying my hair (yes, it really needed washing, but I haven't totally neglected personal hygiene -- I swear. My husband would have moved out), that writing a novel is not unlike conquering one's hair.

Stick with me a moment on this. I promise I haven't burned out so many brain cells that I've mistaken my Kindle for a flat iron.

You start out -- if you're me -- with a long, unruly mane. It goes where it wants, tangles into knots that are painful to undo, and generally makes you look like you've just spent the last five years in the jungles of Borneo without a mirror.

So, you wash out the residue from your last go-round, take out your trusty tools -- blow dryer, round brush, flat iron, conditioner, clips -- and go to work. After a certain amount of time doing the best you can and being fairly satisfied with your results you begin to notice -- especially when you compare yourself to the "professional hair" in the magazines -- something is just not working.

If you're me, this is when you admit that trimming your own bangs really isn't getting the job done anymore. You need professional help. That's when you pick up the phone and make an appointment with your editor,  hair stylist.

You go in for your appointment turn your hair over to the pro of your choice and -- because she's done wonders with your book hair before -- relax and let her do her thing. A little cut, a little color, a new product to fix the overworking and other problems that have been sneaking up on you and you're ready for your public.

About now, you're feeling so good you decide to go out and buy a new pair of shoes to go with your improved hair.

See? Didn't I tell you? Novels, hair … not that different. You gotta work to make it look good, and in the end it may all be fiction but it still gives you a thrill.