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Yesterday's Echo

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Anthony Award nominee Craig Faustus Buck tagged me to join the Writing Process Blog Hop. Check out Craig's writing process at

At the end of this post I will tag three other authors who will post about their writing process on their blogs next week: Sam Gailey, Ken Kuhlken, and Stephen Buehler. You can read about them and find links to their posts at the end of this hop.

Each authors the same four questions on the writing process below:

1. What am I working on?

I'm feverishly finishing revisions on the second book in the Rick Cahill Crime Series (when I'm not jumping on blog hops). The first in the series, Yesterday's Echo, ended with Rick's life in a state of flux. The next book picks up two years later where Rick has settled into a new career and his life is back under control. Not for long...

2. How is my work differ from others of its genre?

I think this is more a marketing question than a process question. Of course, you want to differentiate your work from others in your category to be unique. However, it's not something I think about and certainly not something I consider while I'm writing. I just try to write the story I want to tell as honestly as I can in my own voice. I'm not even sure what genre I write in. My publisher labeled Yesterday's Echo a thriller, my agent called it a literary mystery, and I think of it as hard boiled with a noir underbelly. That's why I call it a crime novel. It has elements of all the above mentioned genres and I'm happy and honored to be in any of them. I just don't think about it. To be fair to the question, I could make this distinction: my protagonist doesn't have a superman sidekick to handle the impossible when it comes up. I don't have anything against the superman sidekick. One of my favorite author writes about one who is a fantastic character. My protagonist, Rick Cahill, is a loner and I like to keep him isolated and having to rely on only his wits. Sometimes, he comes up short in the wits category.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I've read crime fiction all my life all the way back as a kid reading Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald. When I think of a story to tell or examine character, it revolves around a crime. And when I think about crime, I think about murder. Murder is the one crime for which there are no second chances and has aftershocks that reverberate throughout people's lives.

Murder disrupts and through disruption character is revealed. Plus, fictionally, some people just need killing.

4. How does my writing process work?

Dysfunctionally. Next question.

I start with an emaciated skeleton of an outline. Basically, the beginning and the end and a couple plot points. Then I start writing and figure out what goes in the middle as I go. Most refer to this as writing by the seat of your pants, making one a pantser. The writing groups I've been in always use the term blank pager. You start the day staring at a blank page and try to figure out how to fill the white space. Although I consider myself a blank pager, I don't start the day staring a blank page (blank computer screen, actually-maybe I'm a blank screener). I read through what I wrote the day before and revise as I go. This helps me get into the flow and back into my characters' heads.The work is vetted through a writers group and at some point I have a first draft. If I were smart and could outline like organized writers, I wouldn't have too much revising to do. I tried to outline the book I finishing now. A month wasted. For me, just me, outlining is a creative dead end. I've accepted that and have learned to trust my process. Which means that once the first draft is done, I go through and revise the whole manuscript once and then one more final clean up. It's chaotic, nerve-wracking, and disorganized. And it sort of works...Now I'm tagging three other writers who will post blogs on their process next week:

Ken Kuhlken The Good Know Nothing

Ken Kuhlken's short stories, features, essays and columns have appeared in Esquire and dozens of other magazines and anthologies, been honorably mentioned in Best American Short Stories, and earned a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

His novels have been widely praised and honored by awards such as the Ernest Hemingway Best First Novel, the St. Martin's/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Novel, and the Shamus Best Novel. His latest, The Good Know Nothing, a Tom Hickey California crime novel, will be released on August 5.

Samuel W. Gailey Deep Winter

Samuel W. Gailey's debut novel, Deep Winter, by Blue Rider Press/Penguin Books, has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, which refers to it as "...beautifully written..."Esquire Magazine describes the book "Enthralling and suspenseful, like a Michael Connelly or Lee Child crime novel, but more elegantly written." Booklist touts that the book is " brilliantly done, so artfully underwritten with not a word wasted..."

Gailey was raised in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania (population 379), which serves as the setting for Deep Winter. Drawn to rural life and the sometimes deceiving atmosphere therein, Gailey's first novel and his works in progress are suspenseful mysteries and intriguing studies of human nature.

Stephen Buehler Last Exit to Murder

Stephen Buehler started life as a suburbanite living outside Philadelphia but eventually moved to the big city of Los Angeles. He dabbled in television before enduring a long stint in advertising. Along the way, Stephen perused stand-up comedy and now enjoys performing magic. With his own company, ReWriteDr, Stephen helps other writers achieve their dreams. His Derringer nominated story, "Not My Day" was published in the anthology, Last Exit to Murder. He has completed a mystery/comedy P.I. novel, "Detective Rules". His current project, "The Mindreading Murders" is for the Stark Raving Group. For more information about Stephen Buehler: