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Spire Rock

Poem up! A coming-of-age poem set on the Squaw Creek Ranger station outside Gallatin Gateway, Montana.

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Orcas Intrigue: the joy of collaboration

Oh! The joy of collaboration!

I’m here to announce the publication of a new book, ORCAS INTRIGUE, but my name isn’t on it! This is a collaboration with my friend, Shannon Page. And I’ve never collaborated before but let me tell you, I am absolutely going to do it again. Soon.

The Fan Club

I’m a great collaborator at the day job. I love to sit in a meeting and bounce ideas back and forth, watching them build or deflate accordingly. But I never collaborate in my personal writing, ever. Except…Shannon and I have this mutual fan club going.

Now, please understand that Shannon is well-and-often-published. One of her first, early novels has been acquired by a publishing house, and she’s working on it in order to deliver it for publication. My early work has been repped by three good agents, but no one could sell it (ah, the story of my life). So I am working on my stuff in order to bring it out myself.

We both have WORK to do.

Helping each other out

Shannon and I help each other in this process by reading, suggesting, enjoying each other’s stuff. Shannon is also a professional editor and proofreader, so when I hand off something to her, I never get back weird suggestions that ruin the syntax of my sentences. In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that she’s never once suggested a change that has done anything but improve my syntax. Because I get a little windy at time. Lengthy. Or, choppy and fragmented.

This probably has to do with the pressures of what I write at work, which is by nature brief, cogent, persuasive or informative. Though I am permitted fragments galore while writing certain types of work copy, my run-on sentences have no place in the office, so I indulge them magnificently when writing on my own dime.

So, a year ago, I approached Shannon with the very unusual idea of collaboration on a specific project. I’ll tell you about that another time, but Shannon countered with another idea. In fact, Shannon was on FIRE with this other idea, and before I knew it, a 30K+ draft landed in my inbox. It was amazing. She had the basic characters, initial plot and fantastic setting all laid out in this draft. All I had to do was bat it back and forth with her until the manuscript had acquired a dead body, lost a romantic ending and doubled in word count.

People, this was so much fun. I had no IDEA how fun collaboration could be.

Why collaboration is a GOOD thing

As a writer, I read other people’s stuff all the time. And I conceive these strong ideas of what something needs (or doesn’t need) and I have to think of a way to diplomatically convey my absurdly strong opinions to the writer, knowing full well that whatever I suggest probably won’t be adopted. Imagine, then, the joy and freedom of opening up the document and just MAKING THE CHANGES. Right then and there.

Now, I am aware that in Shannon, I had an experienced collaborator who was happy and open to change. It might not be that way with anyone else, I don’t know. But the experience was fantastic. Under our nom de plume, Laura Gayle (Laura is Shannon’s middle name, and Gayle is mine plus an “L”, to make it sound more like a last name), we plan to collaborate much more and very soon.

Orcas Intrigue

So, let me tell you about this book we wrote.

Orcas_Intrigue

ORCAS INTRIGUE opens with Camille Tate taking the ferry to Orcas Island. Orcas is part of the San Juan Islands, which snuggle up so far north, they are practically Canada. She’s fleeing a broken heart, and has decided the best way to handle her disappointment and misery is to go to a cold northern island where she can steep in her misery and work on a screenplay. Of course, she is almost immediately embroiled in terrifying events, and those events show the reader something strange and special about Camille.

This is a cozy mystery with elements of suspense, mystery, romance and the paranormal. There is also a lot of humor to be found as Camille explores Orcas Island, learns about its eccentric inhabitants, and solves a crime. It’s available in paper and Kindle. And has a beautiful cover by Mark Ferrari.

So give it a look-see. I love it and I hope you do, too. And if you do, please leave a review! Amazon reviews are incredibly helpful!