The Scent of Wrath

I thoroughly enjoyed The Scent of Wrath, Book 2 in The Seven Deadly Sins series. When Olivia McKibben glimpses a face from her past, an old fear returns to haunt her and threaten the safety of her and her ten-year old son, Brian. Greta Boris weaves a tense story of maternal love, trauma, and the vengeful anger of wrath. For this book I suggest classic reading mode–an easy chair and your beverage of choice.





Found Dead in Arugula

51ZSNHkenmLI finished Found Dead in Arugula by Michelle Knowlden with a delighted grin. When Quaker widow Faith Lisstrom is arrested for murder, help comes unexpectedly from a lost love. This charming story kicks off a new cozy mystery series by Ms. Knowlden, author of the intriguing Abishag Mysteries and the engaging Deluded Detective series. Ms. Knowlden is adept at creating heart-warming characters and villains whom we understand, giving her stories a human depth that makes her mysteries a pleasure to read.

coming soon



This is why penpanther has been quiet lately. I had a January 31st deadline to complete the first draft, what I call the down and dirty draft. I started the prep work in December and actual writing began January 4, finished it January 29!

This week I’ll do the read-through, make notes, do additional research, and do this neat new thing I just heard about called a reverse outline:”>Revers.

A nifty revision tool for after your first draft is done. It gives you a panoramic view of the  book’s structure so you can see all of that elephant dominating your vision. Since this is my first time writing a non-fiction book, I want all the help I can find in making it as precise, useful and professional as possible.

I’ll begin rewriting and revising February 15 and hope to complete the first revision by February 29, then send it to my beta reader.

I read a variety of fiction–fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, romances, historicals, and literary novels. Some of them stay with me for years, some of them I’ll read more than once, (More than twice!), some of them disappear from my mind when I close the back cover. I find myself thinking about the good ones, still seeing the settings the writer portrayed, still remembering what the characters looked like, sounded like–why is that? What makes the books we vividly remember so alive in our minds? And what makes us go out and buy more of the same?

Writing Emotion is how I decided to answer that question.

I had a March 31 publication deadline but that won’t work since I’m going to put the book through two rewrites–one to get it into final shape and one to polish–so I’m looking at April or May, depending.

So, coming soon! Relatively!

Oh–the cover was done by Angie at Fiverr.



fret and despair


Fret and despair. What I’ve been up to these days, but not for much longer, I hope. The morning is serenely gray, the silence broken now and then by sparrow call.

The Danube cruise approaches, the days spinning down to June 6. Today I’ll buy Euros when I go out to pick up my prescriptions. Physical therapy yesterday for the first time in my life, seems my spine is mishandling the nerves, giving me a numb hand, sometimes a numb arm. So I must do a median nerve exercise 3 times a day, 10 times each arm, for 30 days.  Guess that’s how I’ll start each morning of the cruise. I’ll have to remember during whatever downtime I have to do it 2 more times during the course of the day.

Plan to work on Chapter 1, Scene 1 of The Foreigner this morning, integrating Marius’s memory of Evkya’s suicide with his walk to the village. It’ll strengthen the chapter, round it out, and then I’ll be done with Chapter 1. I’ll bring the manuscript with me on the cruise, but not sure how much time I’ll find to write. Still I’ll feel better having it with me.

I’m not taking my laptop, taking my mini iPad instead. It can fit into my shoulder bag and I won’t have to worry about hauling out the laptop at airport security. It’s such a zoo going through security. I don’t want to risk forgetting it on the belt. Last time, coming back from the Rhine cruise, I left my large iPad on the plane. Fortunately I was able to get it back right away. The guy sitting next to me thoughtfully gave it to the security rep as he exited the plane and it was handed to me when I ran up in a panic. Honestly, I nearly had a heart attack when I realized it wasn’t poking out of my shoulder bag.

I finished Roz Morris’s My Memories of a Future Life. Good book. I’m halfway through Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Wish I had it in the Cloud to download, but I may finish it before I go.

Time for my second cup of coffee and getting to work.

misty woods

cropped-labacchante-gerome.jpg Wrote 843 words of a new scene for The Friendship Killers (formerly Lake of the Rose), finished the scene, but it could do with a little more detail. The novel seems to be coalescing, however there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the narrative–still wandering in the misty woods. I can feel it coming together almost. It slips away every time I try to get a firm grasp, but that’s okay, I guess. This was 2014’s Nano manuscript and now I’m rewriting it, mostly from the middle.

Decided to use Vaughn Keller’s point of view as well as Summer’s. Summer is the main character so Vaughn’s point of view won’t have equal weight, but it does open another door into story. Besides when I was writing notes about Vaughn in my Moleskine, many questions popped up and he started taking on depth. Always a good thing for a character, especially for Vaughn since I’m showing Dani through his eyes in the way I’m using Josh to show Summer. And of course it gives me insight into Vaughn and Josh as well. That’s the fun of writing, mixed right in with all the hard, frustrating work. I’ve got this mystical vision in my head of sitting down at the keyboard and writing effortlessly. Mystical visions are delightful; reality not so much.

Also had a very good train of thought about Romancing the Night, an additional perspective on my vampire hero, Austen. The danger of eternal solitude, spinning the mind into alienation, the rise of decadence in the soul–something Austen fears will happen to him if he doesn’t find love.

I’m in the final quarter of Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Diary, and I’d like to get back to John Fowles: The Journals. I’m about halfway through. Years ago I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and it remains one of my favorite novels. In my book cabinet is a 1969 edition I bought at a used bookstore. I’m going to read it again. I can’t quite remember what I thought about the movie starring Meryl Streep. Maybe I’ll find a dvd somewhere and watch it again. I’d love to find the essay John Fowles wrote about writing The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

Today I’m not sure what I’m going to write for The Friendship Killers, or if I’ll write anything at all on it. Maybe I’ll work on something else. Romancing the Night perhaps? Or maybe The Foreigner.

word stalker


Roca_del_jardín_de_las_delicias_El_Gran_MasturbadorFinished Nano yesterday. A Useful Blind weighed in at 50454 words, half of which will be going away for sure. It was touch and go for a while, didn’t think I’d finish this year, but perseverance paid off. The weather is autumn-cool today. Sky full of giant cumulus clouds backlit by the hidden sun, and the air is cold, sharpened by the breezes. Looks like winter is trying to settle in, but in Southern California you can’t be sure about the season. Rain is predicted this week. Made a pot of turkey soup with orange and yellow carrots, a diced potato, onion, a touch of garlic, and mushrooms. Perfect for a placidly  melancholy day. It came out delicious.

Working on Dust this afternoon. It’s at 7294 words (33 pages). I’m trying to figure out how to develop the story fully. I can see the pacing is off and the structure needs strengthening. My main worry is the action, rising it ain’t.

Reading Inferno, an anthology of terror and the supernatural, edited by Ellen Datlow. Found some jewels in it. Misadventure by Stephen Gallagher, Inelastic Collisions, Elizabeth Bear; The Monsters of Heaven, Nathan Ballingrud; 13 O’Clock, Mike O’Driscoll; Ghorla, Mark Samuels; Face, Joyce Carol Oates; The Keeper, P. D. Cacek. Not finished yet; there are 20 stories total.

Not planning on looking at A Useful Blind again until 2015.