In praise of the third rail

Joslyn Chase says many thanksMany thanks to my readers!

I’m so pleased that Nocturne In Ashes is finally out in print and digital form, and that so many of you have read and enjoyed it. During its premier week, it reached #11 in Amazon’s crime thriller category, shocking and surprising me in the best of ways. It’s thanks to my readers, friends, and supporters that Nocturne rose to such a height. It’s dropping like the proverbial stone now, but who knows what magic lies ahead. If you want to help keep the book afloat, write a review on Amazon. Each review adds to the synergy, boosting the book and helping new readers to find it.

I’m off to the land of the big shoes people.

It’s time for me to move forward and I have several projects lined up. I’m so excited (and a little terrified) that I’ve been invited to attend the Mystery 2017 Workshop on the Coast, taught by the brilliant and prolific award-winning author Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Only 14 writers are accepted to each year’s workshop, so I am thrilled to be included among them this year. I will be a tiny fish in a pond of more experienced and more accomplished writers, but I go in all humility to learn all I can from the big shoes people.

Riley Forte stories set in Mason County, WA

Next book out by Thanksgiving!

During the writing of Nocturne In Ashes, I realized I had too many story lines and too many characters, so I had to cut out a couple of subplots. As I released the book, I had the idea to resurrect one of those story lines and write a separate novella about the Sheriff’s experience as he and his deputy struggled to reach the isolated community terrorized by the killer, and publish it as a companion piece to the novel, offering it free of charge. A bonus for readers like you, and a draw for new readers, I hope.

Here’s something interesting about that—I pretty much already have a developed plot outline, and it’s full of adventure, obstacles, and wild peril. Even so, it’s flat and dead, missing its heart. Plot is about what happens to the characters. Story is about how the plot events affect the characters and changes them. I have the external structure, now I need to breathe life into it by firing it with an internal struggle.

A story get its energy from the hero's inner struggle

Give it the juice!

In her book, Story Genius, Lisa Cron says this: “Think of the protagonist’s internal struggle as the novel’s live wire. It’s exactly like the third rail on a subway train—the electrified rail that supplies the juice that drives the cars forward. Without it, that train, no matter how well constructed, just sits there, idling in neutral, annoying everyone…”

The last thing I want to do is annoy my readers. I’m searching out the juice, the vital elixir that will bring the Sheriff’s story to life and drive it down my story track, bringing more thrills and enjoyment to all who read it. As he speaks to me, filling in the details of his heart and soul, I am getting to know and care about this character, learning to like him and wanting to follow him on his exploits. I hope you will do the same when the new book comes out.

Thanks again to all my readers. I would love to hear about your favorite parts of Nocturne In Ashes. Without spoilers, please share what you liked best about the book in the comments below, so I can know what is resonating with readers. You rock!

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