Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, for Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson.  Please leave a comment or question for Wendy to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway, for a $25 Amazon GC and one (1) copy of her book, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can follow all of the stops on Wendy’s tour by clicking on the tour banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning. 

Writing That First Draft By Wendy Tyson

I was at the park recently, chatting with another mother, when the conversation turned to writing.  The woman admitted that she’s wanted to write since she was a kid.  “I have ideas for at least a dozen romance novels,” she told me.  “I know I can write, but there’s just never a good time.”  She went on to describe what indeed sounded like a busy life, but at the core of what she was telling me was something else altogether: fear.  “I just can’t seem to get past a certain point,” she said.  “I can never find the right words.”  With a sigh, she added, “And, well…what if it’s not that good?”

And what if it’s not?  The truth?  Nothing is “that good” the first time around.  Writing is a craft.  It takes practice and patience and perseverance, and maybe a few tips on starting that first draft.

  • Get the creative juices flowing.  I’m a huge fan of free writing, and my favorite way to do it is pen to paper.  There’s something visceral about writing longhand.  When I’m trying to work through a concept, I grab a fresh notebook and my favorite pen, find a quiet corner (I prefer a table in a café or coffee shop, cliché as it may sound) and write.  I don’t worry about form or grammar or anything really; the purpose of this process is to see where my ideas will lead and to start to shape a story.  I rarely return to these notebooks later, but after a few weeks of this kind of free writing (I give myself a time limit), I’m usually ready to start a first draft.  If you prefer more structure, try outlining your ideas instead—but make sure to apply that time limit.

  • Start typing.  Once you have the general idea fleshed out in your mind (or in an outline), start writing.  I try to write for a minimum amount of time each day, at least one to two hours.  During this period, I don’t stop to edit, fold laundry, check Facebook or do any of the things that normally distract me.  I also don’t get hung up on word choice, specific details or anything else that might derail my progress (see my next tip).  The point is to get the story down on paper.  My son is an artist, and when he paints, his subject starts out murky and undefined.  As he works, he gradually adds color and detail.  Think of your first draft as that initial sketch.  Your goal is to create the general shape, not complete a perfected work of art.

  • Develop a short hand.  I write traditional mysteries and thrillers, and while my books don’t require a ton of research (as they might if they were, say, historical romance novels), there are typically dozens of details I need to research for each novel.  If I completed all of this research at the outset, I might never start writing.  My solution is to put anything that I know needs further investigation in brackets—and then I keep going.  I use the same approach for words that are meh or descriptions I know are boring or sparse or inaccurate.  Here’s a real-life example from the first draft of DYING BRAND:

It had been placed within a dense [area] of pines, white spruce, firs and [OTHER VEGETATION] deep in the woods, and wasn’t visible from the road, the driveway or the house. 

I have scores of these sentences sprinkled throughout my first draft.  Had I stopped to research which trees were most likely to be found in the Maine woods, I would have spent twenty minutes on the Internet researching forest vegetation and another hour checking email, looking at Twitter feeds and deciding which recipe for blueberry muffins looked most promising. 

  • Work through writer’s block.  It happens to all of us: that fateful day when your creative tank runs dry.  Where am I going with this story? You wonder to yourself.  Head banging ensues, and that little devil on your shoulder whispers, “You never had it in you.”  My favorite strategy for working through writer’s block is to keep on writing.  Even if I end up undoing what I’ve written later (because it’s that bad), chances are good I will move the story forward eventually.  If you’re really stuck, try the free writing technique again.  After a few hours (or days) of free writing, the ideas will start to flow.  Sometimes you just need a little perspective.

  • Have fun!  This is the tip the woman in the park needed most.  As soon as she started talking about writing, I could see the anxiety on her face.  Clearly the thought of writing those romance novels didn’t fill her with anticipation and excitement; to the contrary, she looked as though she was about to have a root canal.  Approach your first draft with joy.  Yes, I said it—joy.  Don’t view it as 400 long pages that need to be written.  View it as 400 pages of freedom and possibility.  After all, no one needs to see your first draft.  It’s simply the sketch.  The true masterpiece will be finished later.
Dying Brand
by Wendy Tyson
An Allison Campbell Mystery, Book 3

Publisher: Henery Press
Release Date:  May 5, 2015
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1941962596



About the book:

When image consultant Allison Campbell attends an award ceremony to honor a designer friend, she’s thrust into a murder investigation. Only this time, it’s personal.

A former boyfriend is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.

Driven to find justice, Allison deconstructs the image her ex had created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become. As her hunt for the truth unveils secrets, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.

Books in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series:
  • DYING BRAND (#3)

About This Author

Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers.  Her latest novel, DEADLY ASSETS, the second in the Allison Campbell mystery series, was released on July 22. The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by and the third Campbell installment, DYING BRAND, is due to be released on May 26.  Wendy lives on a micro-farm near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.

Author Links:
Twitter: @wendytyson

A cozy mystery with colorful characters and plenty of suspense, Dying Brand by Wendy Tyson, the third instalment in her Allison Campbell Mystery series, is as tautly written as a thriller and full of deception, betrayal and emotional angst.  More focused on main character Allison than the two previous installments, we get a real look at who Allison was and who she is now.  We also get to continue watching the secondary characters stories develop and see how their interactions with Allison change them all.  If you like well written mysteries and well developed characters, this is definitely the book for you.

Attending an award ceremony for a friend she’s mentored in the past, Allison is dismayed when she receives a call from the wife of Scott Fairweather, a man who was a former boyfriend. A former boyfriend that Jason, her ex-husband and current boyfriend, doesn’t know about.  A relationship she never wants him to know about.  Discovering Scott is now dead, Allison soon finds herself pulled into investigating another mystery when shocking, and intimate pictures of her and Scott arrive at her office and are also sent to Jason and her assistant Vaughn.  Determined to save her relationship with Jason, and figure out how Scott died and why someone is sending her pictures, Allison has to delve into her own past to solve a mystery that may ruin the life she’s managed to rebuild.

Ms. Tyson does a wonderful job continuing to develop Allison’s character and I found myself reconnecting with her very easily.  A successful “image” consultant, Allison is a hard working woman who is generous to friends and family, but like any other person she’s made some mistakes.  Getting involved with another man while she and Jason were on a “trial separation” is unfortunately the kind of mistake that usually comes back to haunt you.  As Allison digs into Scott’s death, while trying to keep her relationship with Jason from imploding, she soon realizes that the case is really less about her and Scott’s previous relationship and more about the man Scott had become after their affair was over.

Ms. Tyson also does a good job developing the secondary characters and I am really enjoying how Jason and Vaughn’s characters are coming along.  I’ve always liked Jason and I’ve been rooting that he and Allison would be able to continue developing their relationship.  I have also always liked Vaughn and consider him hilarious – he’s not only a caring individual and great co-worker for Allison, he’s smart and keeps Allison’s business running smoothly while she’s involved in solving the mystery. The mystery itself is well written and takes plenty of twists and turns.  As always, Ms. Tyson’s writing is tight and very entertaining and I found myself unable to put the book down.

Will Allison discover how and why Scott really died?  Will her relationship with Jason be able to survive past lies and secrets?  You’ll have to read Dying Brand to find out.  I really enjoyed this installment and can’t wait to see what happens with Allison and the rest of the gang in the next installment.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Crowns 

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  1. As a writer, I know how hard that first draft can be! Thanks for sharing, Wendy (and Her Majesty the Queen)!

  2. Thank you for hosting me on your blog today. I wish the best to all of your readers who are working on that first draft! And thank you for the thoughtful review!

  3. I really got a lot out of Writing your First Draft. I have actually started writing a few times but gave up because I was afraid it was not good. Now I am thinking I want to try again! Thanks so much!

  4. sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.