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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


Fricka wrote:

dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

 

We baked muffins in Rosie's honor. She did get a few pieces. And so did the rest of the gang. A snapped this picture with my iTouch a few weeks ago. Rosie with Iona, our papillon, and Suki, our stubborn (but sweet) kitty.

 


Awwwww, total cute! Happy belated birthday to Rosie. Thank you for sharing her "growing up" pictures, too. It's nice to see that all three of your pets can relax happily together. I don't have a pet right now, due to my parent's health issues, so I vicariously enjoy viewing other people's pets.

Dorothy, thanks so much for joining us here on the B&N Mystery Forum; it's been a pleasure chatting with you!


This is such a cute picture! We used to have three cats, a dog and two gerbils (and, at one point, two rabbits), but age took its toll and now we're down to one elderly cat. We plan to get more dogs at some point, but right now Casper is enjoying being the King of the House.

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!

Dorothy - Would you tell us about your writing process? Do you plot everything out ahead of time, or do you write by the seat of your pants?

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dorothy_mcfalls
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:



Awwwww, total cute! Happy belated birthday to Rosie. Thank you for sharing her "growing up" pictures, too. It's nice to see that all three of your pets can relax happily together. I don't have a pet right now, due to my parent's health issues, so I vicariously enjoy viewing other people's pets.

Dorothy, thanks so much for joining us here on the B&N Mystery Forum; it's been a pleasure chatting with you!


This is such a cute picture! We used to have three cats, a dog and two gerbils (and, at one point, two rabbits), but age took its toll and now we're down to one elderly cat. We plan to get more dogs at some point, but right now Casper is enjoying being the King of the House.


Thank you, Fricka and Becke! I bet Rosie would love it if I baked her a cake like the cyber one you posted. I'm so not a baker, though. I can whip up a mean batch of brownies, but that's about it with the baking.

 

When our first dog died two years ago, Iona so enjoyed living in an only-dog household. But she turned into a holy terror. She's a spoiled little thing. (Completely my fault!) Having Rosie around helps balance her personality out. She is forced to share and to live with another dog. Suki, who also thinks she's a dog, likes to get the other two into trouble. It's quite the zoo in our little (much, too little for all these pets) house. But I love it.

 

That said, there are times when I wish I could have a pet-hair free house!

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
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dorothy_mcfalls
Posts: 56
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Would you tell us about your writing process? Do you plot everything out ahead of time, or do you write by the seat of your pants?


I'm a plotter. I envy writers who say they start out a book and don't even know who the villain is. I couldn't do that! I don't have enough self-confidence. I like to be able to see the complete arc before I start. I like to know my characters and their motivations. Not that these things don't change. Hoh, boy, do they change! The book I'm writing now, Oak and Dagger, started out with one plot that read great in the synopsis. But I got about five or six chapters in and bang--I realized that the plot was falling apart. The tension just wasn't there. The book wasn't working. At. All.

 

So, I went back to the drawing board and started over. I hated to do that. I lost four or five months of writing time, but it needed to be done.

 

I'm a writer who also edits/revises as she writes. This gives me a pretty clean manuscript when I get to the end. But because I do that, it takes me forever to get to the end. And I waste lots of time changing things that might not need to be changed.Or might need to be changed differently.

 

With Oak and Dagger, I'm trying to just make notes about what I need to change and keep writing. I'm hoping that by doing this I can speed up my process. It hasn't quite worked out the way I'd hoped. It's actually slowed me down a bit, because I'm getting confused about what's right and what needs to be changed when I read through a passage. Then I start making changes. I hope that with practice, this new process will work out for me.

 

Here's a list of some of my go-to writing books:

Save the Cat! 

Immediate Fiction 

Don'T Murder Your Mystery    

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
Author
dorothy_mcfalls
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


Fricka wrote:

Dorothy and becke-- maybe you two could get T-Shirts that have your names in large print on them, for your appearance at Malice. I agree that the nametags given out at most conventions are not big enough to read from a distance.


I love the T-shirt idea. It would keep me from having to stress about what to wear!

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:



Awwwww, total cute! Happy belated birthday to Rosie. Thank you for sharing her "growing up" pictures, too. It's nice to see that all three of your pets can relax happily together. I don't have a pet right now, due to my parent's health issues, so I vicariously enjoy viewing other people's pets.

Dorothy, thanks so much for joining us here on the B&N Mystery Forum; it's been a pleasure chatting with you!


This is such a cute picture! We used to have three cats, a dog and two gerbils (and, at one point, two rabbits), but age took its toll and now we're down to one elderly cat. We plan to get more dogs at some point, but right now Casper is enjoying being the King of the House.


Thank you, Fricka and Becke! I bet Rosie would love it if I baked her a cake like the cyber one you posted. I'm so not a baker, though. I can whip up a mean batch of brownies, but that's about it with the baking.

 

When our first dog died two years ago, Iona so enjoyed living in an only-dog household. But she turned into a holy terror. She's a spoiled little thing. (Completely my fault!) Having Rosie around helps balance her personality out. She is forced to share and to live with another dog. Suki, who also thinks she's a dog, likes to get the other two into trouble. It's quite the zoo in our little (much, too little for all these pets) house. But I love it.

 

That said, there are times when I wish I could have a pet-hair free house!


I know what you mean - Casper is totally spoiled! His cry when he wants something can drive me up the wall, so I usually give in and give him what he wants. He's an indoor/outdoor cat, although these days he rarely ventures off our deck. He likes to hang out there with his friends the raccoons and possums.

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becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Would you tell us about your writing process? Do you plot everything out ahead of time, or do you write by the seat of your pants?


I'm a plotter. I envy writers who say they start out a book and don't even know who the villain is. I couldn't do that! I don't have enough self-confidence. I like to be able to see the complete arc before I start. I like to know my characters and their motivations. Not that these things don't change. Hoh, boy, do they change! The book I'm writing now, Oak and Dagger, started out with one plot that read great in the synopsis. But I got about five or six chapters in and bang--I realized that the plot was falling apart. The tension just wasn't there. The book wasn't working. At. All.

 

So, I went back to the drawing board and started over. I hated to do that. I lost four or five months of writing time, but it needed to be done.

 

I'm a writer who also edits/revises as she writes. This gives me a pretty clean manuscript when I get to the end. But because I do that, it takes me forever to get to the end. And I waste lots of time changing things that might not need to be changed.Or might need to be changed differently.

 

With Oak and Dagger, I'm trying to just make notes about what I need to change and keep writing. I'm hoping that by doing this I can speed up my process. It hasn't quite worked out the way I'd hoped. It's actually slowed me down a bit, because I'm getting confused about what's right and what needs to be changed when I read through a passage. Then I start making changes. I hope that with practice, this new process will work out for me.

 

Here's a list of some of my go-to writing books:

Save the Cat! 

Immediate Fiction 

Don'T Murder Your Mystery    


I have two of these, but I don't have Immediate Fiction. I'll have to check that one out!

Author
dorothy_mcfalls
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


becke_davis wrote:

dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Would you tell us about your writing process? Do you plot everything out ahead of time, or do you write by the seat of your pants?


I'm a plotter. I envy writers who say they start out a book and don't even know who the villain is. I couldn't do that! I don't have enough self-confidence. I like to be able to see the complete arc before I start. I like to know my characters and their motivations. Not that these things don't change. Hoh, boy, do they change! The book I'm writing now, Oak and Dagger, started out with one plot that read great in the synopsis. But I got about five or six chapters in and bang--I realized that the plot was falling apart. The tension just wasn't there. The book wasn't working. At. All.

 

So, I went back to the drawing board and started over. I hated to do that. I lost four or five months of writing time, but it needed to be done.

 

I'm a writer who also edits/revises as she writes. This gives me a pretty clean manuscript when I get to the end. But because I do that, it takes me forever to get to the end. And I waste lots of time changing things that might not need to be changed.Or might need to be changed differently.

 

With Oak and Dagger, I'm trying to just make notes about what I need to change and keep writing. I'm hoping that by doing this I can speed up my process. It hasn't quite worked out the way I'd hoped. It's actually slowed me down a bit, because I'm getting confused about what's right and what needs to be changed when I read through a passage. Then I start making changes. I hope that with practice, this new process will work out for me.

 

Here's a list of some of my go-to writing books:

Save the Cat! 

Immediate Fiction 

Don'T Murder Your Mystery    


I have two of these, but I don't have Immediate Fiction. I'll have to check that one out!


Immediate Fiction was one of those books that just "clicked" for me. After reading it, I wrote The Marriage List, which became the first novel to be sold to a major publisher.

 

That said, I know everyone learns differently and needs to hear differently things. Some how-to books that others rave about do nothing for me. And I know it's not the book, it's just that the book isn't teaching me something that I need to learn.

 

I know I'm a plot-driven writer, as opposed to a character-driven writer. I often come up with the plot and then have to go searching for a character that will fit the plot.

 

When I first started writing the proposal for the White House Gardener Mysteries, I had cast a different main character with a much different back-story. And while there was nothing wrong with her, she did nothing to hold my attention. I needed to put someone into that plot who had a reason to go against everyone's advice and seek justice on her own. That's when I came up with Casey Calhoun.

 

She has a compelling reason to want justice because of her own backstory. Her mother was murdered when Casey was a young child. And the murderer was never found. This unhealed wound in her history shapes every decision Casey makes.

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Would you tell us about your writing process? Do you plot everything out ahead of time, or do you write by the seat of your pants?


I'm a plotter. I envy writers who say they start out a book and don't even know who the villain is. I couldn't do that! I don't have enough self-confidence. I like to be able to see the complete arc before I start. I like to know my characters and their motivations. Not that these things don't change. Hoh, boy, do they change! The book I'm writing now, Oak and Dagger, started out with one plot that read great in the synopsis. But I got about five or six chapters in and bang--I realized that the plot was falling apart. The tension just wasn't there. The book wasn't working. At. All.

 

So, I went back to the drawing board and started over. I hated to do that. I lost four or five months of writing time, but it needed to be done.

 

I'm a writer who also edits/revises as she writes. This gives me a pretty clean manuscript when I get to the end. But because I do that, it takes me forever to get to the end. And I waste lots of time changing things that might not need to be changed.Or might need to be changed differently.

 

With Oak and Dagger, I'm trying to just make notes about what I need to change and keep writing. I'm hoping that by doing this I can speed up my process. It hasn't quite worked out the way I'd hoped. It's actually slowed me down a bit, because I'm getting confused about what's right and what needs to be changed when I read through a passage. Then I start making changes. I hope that with practice, this new process will work out for me.

 

Here's a list of some of my go-to writing books:

Save the Cat! 

Immediate Fiction 

Don'T Murder Your Mystery    


I have two of these, but I don't have Immediate Fiction. I'll have to check that one out!


Immediate Fiction was one of those books that just "clicked" for me. After reading it, I wrote The Marriage List, which became the first novel to be sold to a major publisher.

 

That said, I know everyone learns differently and needs to hear differently things. Some how-to books that others rave about do nothing for me. And I know it's not the book, it's just that the book isn't teaching me something that I need to learn.

 

I know I'm a plot-driven writer, as opposed to a character-driven writer. I often come up with the plot and then have to go searching for a character that will fit the plot.

 

When I first started writing the proposal for the White House Gardener Mysteries, I had cast a different main character with a much different back-story. And while there was nothing wrong with her, she did nothing to hold my attention. I needed to put someone into that plot who had a reason to go against everyone's advice and seek justice on her own. That's when I came up with Casey Calhoun.

 

She has a compelling reason to want justice because of her own backstory. Her mother was murdered when Casey was a young child. And the murderer was never found. This unhealed wound in her history shapes every decision Casey makes.


Thanks for sharing this with us!

 

Have you always been interested in gardening? Which came first for you - gardening or writing?

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!

It's a little early, but HAPPY EASTER!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!

Dorothy - Thanks so much for joining us this week! The time has just flown!

 

Come back and join us anytime - we'd love to hear from you!

 

Author
dorothy_mcfalls
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


becke_davis wrote:



Thanks for sharing this with us!

 

Have you always been interested in gardening? Which came first for you - gardening or writing?


I think I was always doing both! My aunt Dorothy (who I was named after) was an avid gardener. I think I learned to love growing my own veggies from her.

 

My editor suggested I write the series after I kept including tidbits about what was going on in my garden in my emails to her.

 

While I was writing the proposal, I worked my way through my local master gardener program. What fun! It also gave me a chance to use my biology undergradate degree again. I loved the classes. As any gardener knows, there's always something new to learn in the garden. Whenever you think you know what's going on, nature will do something that takes you completely by surprise. I think that's one thing I like about it. I'm never bored.

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
Author
dorothy_mcfalls
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎01-19-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Thanks so much for joining us this week! The time has just flown!

 

Come back and join us anytime - we'd love to hear from you!

 


Thank you, Becke, for having me this week! It's been fun visiting with everyone. I can't wait to finally meet you in person. Just a few weeks until Malice Domestic! It's going to be a blast!

 

I wish everyone a joyous Easter and a contemplative Passover this weekend.

 

My sister and her family will be at the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. I'll look forward to hearing all about her adventures. FLOWERBED OF STATE takes place during the Easter Egg Roll. So if you're wondering what it's all about, you can get a pretty good glimpse of the festivities with that book.

 

White House Gardener Mysteries
Flowerbed of State May 2011
The Scarlet Pepper April 2012
Oak and Dagger April 2013
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:



Thanks for sharing this with us!

 

Have you always been interested in gardening? Which came first for you - gardening or writing?


I think I was always doing both! My aunt Dorothy (who I was named after) was an avid gardener. I think I learned to love growing my own veggies from her.

 

My editor suggested I write the series after I kept including tidbits about what was going on in my garden in my emails to her.

 

While I was writing the proposal, I worked my way through my local master gardener program. What fun! It also gave me a chance to use my biology undergradate degree again. I loved the classes. As any gardener knows, there's always something new to learn in the garden. Whenever you think you know what's going on, nature will do something that takes you completely by surprise. I think that's one thing I like about it. I'm never bored.


It sounds like your editor was really on the ball - this series is perfect for you!

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Please Welcome Author DOROTHY ST. JAMES!


dorothy_mcfalls wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Dorothy - Thanks so much for joining us this week! The time has just flown!

 

Come back and join us anytime - we'd love to hear from you!

 


Thank you, Becke, for having me this week! It's been fun visiting with everyone. I can't wait to finally meet you in person. Just a few weeks until Malice Domestic! It's going to be a blast!

 

I wish everyone a joyous Easter and a contemplative Passover this weekend.

 

My sister and her family will be at the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday. I'll look forward to hearing all about her adventures. FLOWERBED OF STATE takes place during the Easter Egg Roll. So if you're wondering what it's all about, you can get a pretty good glimpse of the festivities with that book.

 


Wow - if your sister sends you pictures from the White House Easter Egg hunt, I'd love to see them!

 

Have a wonderful weekend!