Travel Thursday

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back from Northern Ireland for a week!

Here is a photo from my trip.


While in the Republic of Ireland 15years ago, I took a literary pub crawl in Dublin.  We went to pubs Yeats, Joyce and others frequented.  After being inspired (or more accurately, creeped out) by the above pictured site, I wrote a short story (Five Days In) in the castle’s bar.

Writing Wednesday

As a writer, I’m always looking for a new inspiration, for a new idea, sometimes for a new phrase.

I interact with a fair amount of people every day – some are nice, some aren’t (that includes almost everyone I interacted with yesterday).  Some are funny and some are funny without meaning to be.  A beta reader has pointed out the conversation in my books is very realistic, and flows easily.  I think it’s because I listen closely to how people speak.  

A couple of years ago, while horseback riding in Iceland, a British lady on the tour used the phrase “keen as mustard.”  I laughed so hard I almost fell off the horse.  (OK, full disclosure, I almost fell off the horse prior to the laughing also.)  

Today I heard a phrase that made me laugh so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes.  I don’t think I can ever use it as a writer.  I cannot imagine any of my current characters every saying it (I hope they never need to!) but it was hysterical.  I cannot imagine another human being, other than my very nice teenager patient, saying it.  I told him and his mother, once I could speak, I would never forget the phrase “aggressive bathing”.  Words I never thought would be used together.  I hope you ponder this phrase and have a laugh.

Keep checking my blog, Facebook and Twitter for an important message coming SOON about Book 2 of The Nathan Miccoli Series, ‘Gone But Not Goodbye” 

Tuesday’s Tally

Six months ago, I self published my debut mystery novel (‘Gone But Not Missed’, Book One of the Nathan Miccoli Mystery series).

It’s time to look at the numbers.  Some good…Some not so good.

Over 77,000 people downloaded ‘Gone But Not Missed’ during the BookBub promotion.  It was the number one free download on Amazon for over a day!  It led to a sizable amount of sales afterwards and I easily made the money back from the promotion. 

224 Amazon reviews – 4.1 star rating

49 likes on Facebook 

40 Twitter Followers


2 royalty checks – the famous $2.05 check is my favorite.

Sold in one local bookstore – Book Revue, Huntington, NY

Book 2 is on its way.  Tell your friends to read ‘Gone But Not Missed’ before the sequel is published.  

‘Gone But Not Goodbye’, book two of the Nathan Miccoli Mystery series will be released in JUNE!  

Thank you to wonderful editing by Lourdes Venard!  And thank you to beta reader Jackie who has read it MULTIPLE times!  


Writing Wednesday – Naming Characters

In case you missed it, here’s my blog “Naming Characters.”  It was posted last week on PJ Nunn’s blog, book


At a New York Times Talk in 2009, a question from the audience for Stephen King:  “How do you name characters, particularly…” and he named a specific character.  The question was asked by a man of the same name.  The audience laughed.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember Stephen King’s answer.

Depending on the character, I have a different answer.  A novel has many characters.  Some will appear briefly.  Some will be present throughout the series.  It’s a lot of people to name.

One of my lead characters, Genevieve Lillian Brannon, has a long answer regarding her naming.  I’ve always loved the name Genevieve, the name of a great aunt I knew briefly.  It’s a beautiful name, yet I only knew her as Aunt DeDe.  Her granddaughter was named Genevieve as well, but again, no one calls her by it.  Ironically, no one calls my Genevieve, Genevieve either.  Her middle name, Lillian, came from someone I used to work with.  It was her first name, but she went by her middle name.  Lillian never suited her.  Lillian and Lily suit my character perfectly.

The other lead character, Nathan Michael Miccoli, has a less complicated naming process.  He was originally named Jonathan.  Another writer in my first writing class had a character named Jonathan, so I dropped the ‘Jo’ and Nathan was born.  Looking back, it was a good choice.  I can’t picture ‘Nathan’ as Jonathan at all.

Some of the more baseball oriented minds may notice a trend in my character’s names.  Rosters of my favorite team are often consulted for first and last names.  A secondary character, from book two, is named after a Mets player, who also played for the Yankees.  It is a clue regarding this character’s two sided nature.

Sometimes I use census data to find the right first or last name.  Google is a wonderful thing- What is a common name for a specific age or ethnic group?

While writing book three of ‘The Nathan Miccoli Series’, I got particularly stuck and I gave the ‘privilege’ of naming a character to three special beta readers.  They each took very different approaches.  One took a week to answer, wanting to know details about the character.  (She eventually came up with a name that I should have known she would.)  The second gave me an answer in less than thirty seconds.  (It was a great choice.)  The third told me she didn’t want the responsibility.  With some pushing, she conceded, by naming the young character David.  (Yes, after David Wright, Mets Captain.)  Her response was vetoed because a future important character is already named David and he is worthy of the All Star’s name.

To sum up, How do I name a character?

Depends on the character

My First Royalty Check

This should be an exciting post.  But, as I often mumble during my day, it’s a cruel, cruel world.

I self-published my novel on November 13, 2013.  Five and a half months later, I’ve just gotten my first royalty check.  I smiled when I read “Amazon Digital Services” when I opened my mailbox.  I made it an event in my house to open it.  This is the first step in becoming a full time author.  I had an idea of what the amount would be, for sales through February.  I was shocked when I opened the envelope and saw the check.


This paltry amount was not what I expected.  

I quickly checked my Amazon account and learned the check I expected was mailed 2 days later than this one – and the amount I expected.  It doesn’t cover the costs I’ve laid out for ‘Gone But Not Missed’ but it’s a start:)

So, this first check will be quite a story years from now when I’m a famous author (fingers crossed).  It’ll be framed and hung on the wall in my office, when I have one.  

Have a great weekend!