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So you’ve finished the first chapter of your book and made sure to open your story with either a bang or a captivating introduction to the tale. You’ve given the reader something to be interested in; however, now it’s your job to create some sort of investment. If the reader isn’t invested in the story, chances are they might not even finish reading your book. This is where pacing comes in to play. In many ways, it’s analogous to both first time and subsequent kisses.

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There’s a formula that a strong plot plus a strong character arc equals a great novel. Readers love a developed character arc because it adds weight to the story. Sure, the adventure is fun or the mystery is thrilling, but add a layer of personal growth for your sleuth and you leave the reader feeling that the book meant something.

There are many examples of character growth out there. These are a few ideas I had, especially for an amateur sleuth thrust in the middle of having to solve a murder.

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I recently read a manuscript in which a mystery is solved by a protagonist who hates technology. It’s an interesting premise. Surprisingly though, the protagonist’s aversion to laptops. cell phones, iPods and treadmills had no impact on the plot. It had nothing to do with the mystery or in any way helped the protagonist figure out the whodunit. He just constantly complained about technology.

It left me wondering why he hated all things geeky cool.

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I produced book trailers for my two novels ( which can be viewed here and here.) I posted the trailers on the obvious sources – my website, Facebook Page, and YouTube channel. Then, I discovered the really hard part: promoting them.

So what’s next? I’ve found a few new places that promote book trailers and thought I’d share them. Please share any resources you’ve found.

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I’m taking the long 4th of July weekend to work on my new novel, and looking forward to watching some movies (while I’m writing.) Seems like a good way to spend a hot July weekend, right? Because there’s nothing more American than movies featuring fireworks, barbecues and patriotic fervor. These five films are so chock-full of American spirit that you’ll be standing and singing “The Star Spangled Banner” before the credits roll.

In that spirit, here’s my list of Movies for the 4th of July Weekend!

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"What are dialog tags?" he asked, inquisitively.

"Dialog tags are the little obvious fragments that writers add to the end of speech to identify who is speaking and what feeling the character is emoting," she explained.

"So dialog tags are kind of like emoticons for writers," he laughed.

"Exactly," she agreed.

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The best writing advice I ever received was how to identify when I’m “telling,” rather than “showing.” And I’m going to share that advice with you.

You probably already know what telling versus showing means. If so, skip down past the examples. If not, well, read on. “Telling” is relaying information. It’s generic, lifeless, and rather detached. It’s often the opposite of storytelling, but rather info dumping. “Showing” allows your reader to follow your characters into the moment. The reader can see, feel and experience what the characters are experiencing. It also makes your book more interesting and impactful.

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‘Prey of Desire’ was reviewed by the book review site Long & Short Reviews. They wrote:

Prey of Desire is a psychological thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Mysteries abound and there is a cast of characters who are each rather weird in their own way, so there are myriad suspects. I had the mystery all solved, several times, actually, but none of my solutions were the right one. I was totally fooled and the ending really took me by surprise.

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Today I’m featured on the blog “What Is That Book About.” The website is running my article “Writing a Mystery: 10 Motives for Murders.” You can check it out at www.whatisthatbookabout.com.

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There seems to be a lot of pressure to write a memorable, attention-grabbing, knock ’em dead first line.

As authors, we’re supposed to understand its critical importance. Without an attention-grabbing, knock ‘em dead first line, readers may not move to the second. So, as I write and rewrite an opening line for my new novel, I thought a look at the first lines of some of my favorite books would provide a little inspiration.

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