Remember my post on taphophilia recently? Well, I recently explored the topic in greater detail on Kay's Reading Life, a fun and very busy book reading/review site that you might enjoy. I love Kay's approach to her blog and always learn something new and interesting there. You can check out my guest post, "Do You Have Taphophilia?" now.
Suspense I'm reading:
Whew! Are you struggling as I am right now with the heat and humidity? In Vermont, we normally enjoy green, cool'ish summers, full of rainy days, sunny days and very often, a mix of the two in the same 24-hours. Not this year! This summer has been hot...really hot for our northern climate, and extra muggy too. I have to admit--this is my least favorite weather. This and the sub-zero temperatures that we often get in January and February. But then at least you don't feel guilty for not going outside! I'm definitely a 60s and 70s degree kinda girl and LOVE autumn and spring.
Despite the weather (or because of it?), I've been able to lose myself in some great suspense books lately. I just finished The House of Closed Doors by Jane Steen. As you know, I don't do book reviews here on the blog, only recommendations. I really enjoyed this novel. It's historical fiction (as you probably guessed from the lovely cover) and I did a little blurb about it recently in my video newsletter. I found The House of Closed Doors to be a great mix of family drama, history, and mystery. Check it out for yourself via the author's website, on Amazon or your local indie bookstore.
I've just delved into Ruth Ware's, The Death of Mrs. Westaway. I first fell in love with Ruth's work when I heard the audio version of her book The Woman in Cabin 10. I thoroughly enjoyed it and when on to read more books by this author. This is my fourth Ruth Ware novel and I have not been disappointed!
The Death of Mrs. Westaway follows a 20-something woman, "Hal" Westaway who works as a (skeptical) psychic, following in her deceased mother's footsteps. When Hal receives a letter notifying her that her grandmother has died and that she is a beneficiary, Hal is perplexed. Her grandmother has already died, so clearly this letter is a mistake.
Still, she's excited (Hal has serious money problems) but also filled with unease. While this woman wasn't her actual grandmother, Hal journeys to the estate anyway. It's a dark, creepy place swamped with magpies--the perfect Gothic setting. :) There she meets her "family" a mix of dark and light characters, each with their own mysterious issues...
Have you heard of this book yet? Want to check it out? Learn more about it via the author's website, on Goodreads, or snag a copy on Amazon or at your local bookshop.
Suspense I'm Writing:
I have to admit something here and now: I've never been a fan of short stories. I don't like reading them. Just when I'm getting really into the story, it's done. I don't like writing them. Very often it's harder to condense a story into 2000-10,000 words than it is to flesh out a full novel.
But, I do love to try experiments. And one of my newest is playing with short stories in between writing novels. I wrote one recently called, Runaway Train, for a contest (the first I've entered in many years--still just as nerve-wracking as I remember!). And now I'm working on one that has a working title of The Mansion. (Original title, I know.) I'm learning some fun facts about slang of the 1920s, as both stories are set there--not on purpose, it just turned out that way. Here are a few of my favorite slang terms from the Roaring 20s:
What are you reading this week? Or what's in your #TBR pile that you can't wait to start?
Whew! What a busy few weeks it's been...busy but productive and exciting. First, the next book (formerly known as The Creepy Doll Book) has a real name: Let the Dead Rest.
It will be released this summer (likely mid-August) and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you. The awesome designers over at The Cover Collection are working on the cover for it as we speak (!) and it will be delivered to my developmental editor tomorrow.
Guys, I just have to say that writing and then putting a book out in the world is one of the most exciting things to me. I LOVE IT!!! Even when I hate it (like this morning when I was sore and stiff from sitting for hours in front of the computer editing--my very least favorite part of the process) it still rocks. I'm very, very grateful to be on this journey and for your support from near and far. Thank you, dear readers.
Now, more about the book...
I've created an alternate ending and my fantastic beta readers have so far been split right down the middle. What should I do? Should I include both endings in the book? Should I toss one and keep the other via gut instinct? Should I post the alternate ending only here, on the blog after the book has come out? Chime in via the comments and let me know what you think.
PS Here's a Little Something Creepy to Enjoy
"The world doesn't need more Christian literature. The world needs more Christians writing good literature." ~C.S. Lewis
For years I struggled with my decision to write "general" fiction rather than Christian fiction. After all, as a believer doesn't the fact that I eschew writing faith-based fiction mean that I'm not using my talents for good? Doesn't it indicate that I'm ashamed of my faith or trying to hide my religious leanings?
A writing friend once told me that I can't not write from my Christian perspective. Everything that I see/experience/write is filtered through that. She also pointed out (when I worried that my books were too violent, gritty, messy) that there is nothing in my books that didn't happen in the Bible. Human nature is human nature, no matter the timeline.
Here's the simple truth as I see it today: I was called to be a writer as my career. And I was called to be light in a dark world because of my faith. If I chose to write Christian fiction for other believers my light would be doing what exactly? Making their light brighter? But if someone who isn't a Christian reads one of my books and sees hope, that's fantastic. If they read it and toss it aside with a "Meh, that was pretty entertaining," and don't get anything else out of it, then that's fine too.
The quote above by C.S. Lewis is one that is hanging over my desk right now. Because what the world needs IS more Christians writing what they are passionate about and what they're meant to write. Not what they think they "should" write or what their pastor or parent or friend encourages them to write.
The deeper exploration into human nature and spiritual issues is something that fascinates me. And I think from reading many of my books reviews, others feel the same way.
The fact is that we're all flawed. We're all broken in some way. And finding people who look and talk and act like us on the page (bad habits, stupid choices and all) means that an author is doing his or her job correctly. Even if it's ugly. Even if it's uncomfortable at times. The important part is remembering that no matter how dark the situation, hope shines through.
You know how you might envy someone who keeps an immaculate house, drives a big, shiny SUV, or has perfectly-behaved children? Well, I envy authors who outline.
Outlining? Not for me. No, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type, a rebel. A true jump-in-with-both-feet type of girl. Which is fine and great in its way. Writing fiction is pretty much the only time that I "break the rules," and do things in an un-planned for fashion. It's fun to throw caution to the wind and write freely without thought of what might show up next on the page...until you're not sure what should show up next on the page. Or until the dreaded editing process begins.
Have I mentioned previously that I don't like the editing process much? It's true. Give me the freedom of the empty page and the energy that comes pouring out while I'm working on that messy and imperfect first draft. But then the editing starts and GAH! I want to run from my desk and hide, preferably with a tub of dairy-free ice cream in a room streaming Netflix.
I've just discovered a new way of outlining through, that doesn't hurt quite so much. I still do this after the first draft is written (I know, I'm weird but you've gotta go with what works) and use index cards to track the major points in the novel. Other writers are all high-tech with Scrivener, but I'm more of a Luddite. And that's OK.
I'm really enjoying this new system. Above, you'll see many of the cards spread out for "Pretty Poison," my seventh book (coming 2019). The blank cards at the end of the rows gave away the plot, so I had to flip them over.
Currently, I'm working from another set of index cards. These are helping me to better flesh out the main points in my sixth book, the Creepy Doll Book (*not it's real title). In honor of this book which will be coming out later this year, I thought it would be fun to go on a little Creepy Doll Field Trip. Here are some frightening dolls that I found while browsing the internet. Vote for your favorite in the comments!
Welcome to the website of author J.P. Choquette (pronounced, "show-kett"). Join the Reader Group and nab a free short story, along with the latest news, goodies, upcoming event announcements and more.
Already read a book? Have you checked out her other suspense novels?