Delilah Pelham’s brother, Paul, is missing. She should probably be worried about that but honestly, he’s been in trouble since the day he learned the words “trust me." In fact, if it weren’t for his roommate, Carl, she would gladly leave him to his fate.
Carl is a good guy, even if he’s a bit of a dork. Okay, a large slice of a dork. Possibly the entire cake.
But he wants to help, as do his gamer friends, which is how Deli finds herself in the middle of Hong Kong with the King of the Dorks, running from creepy guys with slicked-back hair and shiny black guns.
Back at home, Carl’s friends aren’t faring nearly as well. All they had to do was monitor the situation and feed Deli’s cat while she was gone. How could that possibly end in bloodshed?
There is an answer, of course, but no one ever thinks to ask the cat.
For More Information
• Double Blind is available at Amazon.
• Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
• Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Three Lessons I learned writing a full-length novel.
When I started writing, I had little idea what I was doing because before that, I’d been a scientist for years and years. Passive voice is the norm in science because everything is supposed to be written as though it just magically (or rather, scientifically) happened by itself. Subjectivity is not allowed. I’m convinced this is why people have such a hard time reading scientific papers. There’s not enough action.
I taught myself to write a full length novel by writing two very bad semi-full length novels and giving up on each one in turn to write something that made more sense. I understand now those pieces were mostly about finding my own voice but boy-howdy did it feel like I was banging my head against a wall at times. I edited out twice as many words as I left in. It wasn’t easy but I finally figured out a process that works for me. If you are writing a full-length novel and having a hard time finding your own process, here are three lessons I learned that might help you.
Start with your bad guys. I don’t know how you do, but when I come up with a book idea it’s usually like, “Oh man, all this cool stuff is going to happen and it’s gonna be so great!” Then I write a bunch of it and feel all proud of myself because it’s going pretty well. The characters are fun and I’m pretty confident I’ll know where everything should go in the end. Happily, I type myself right up to the 50k word WALL OF DESPAIR. Everything grinds to a halt. No one is in the right place. No one knows what the hell is going on. The story isn’t finished but no one has any more motivation to do anything. After my third trip to the WALL OF DESPAIR, I finally realized my main problem was bad guys. The antagonists weren’t complex enough to sustain the whole story. I’d neglected getting to know them because I didn’t like them. But here’s the thing: No one likes the bad guys. That’s why they’re bad guys. And yet, as the author you need to know them as intimately as you know your protagonists. They are an integral part of the story. Without them there is nothing for the protagonist to fight against. Now when I get stuck at the WoD I go back and hang out with my bad guys. Maybe I write about how they flunked out of college or about the time they got arrested smuggling bees into Canada. It’s amazing how much you can learn about someone when they’re smuggling bees into Canada. They open up as people.
If you have to defend it to more than one person, cut or rewrite it. One person not understanding the action in a sequence is forgivable. Maybe they read too fast. Maybe they fell asleep. Who knows? Two people tripping over the same point means that your story is unclear. It doesn’t matter how much it makes sense in your head. Your goal is for the reader to read it and enjoy it, not wonder what you mean by “He trampolined through the field,” or something equally ridiculous. By all means write that out but then get rid of it for something people will understand.
Give yourself a running start. Almost every scene I write is preceded by a few pages of mush. It used to really bug me until I realized that I probably about three pages of stray thoughts in my head at any one time. It’s difficult for me to find the loose threads of plot lines until those stray thoughts are corralled so I round them up by writing them down. You don’t always have to do this, of course, but if you consider the first few sentences or paragraphs (or pages) as warm up to the day’s writing, you will erase a lot of performance anxiety.
Writing a novel is hard. Pulling ideas out of your head is hard. But the more you do it, the more you get familiar with how your inspiration works. And when you know how your inspiration works, it gets easier to find it when you need it. So good luck and keep writing!
Tiffany Pitts grew up in the Seattle area in a time when the Super Sonics were huge and Starbucks was just a store at the end of the Market. Tragedy struck early in her life as her family moved to New Jersey mere months before Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album hit record stores. It took nearly a decade to wean herself off the hairspray. But Seattle called her back, so she went; eventually earning a degree in Botany (pronounced “Bar tending”) at the University of Washington.
She made one more valiant attempt to leave the PNW after college by travelling around the country doing not much of value and making very stupid decisions. She is thankful every day that the internet was not a huge deal in those years. Then Seattle called again so she picked up and moved home where she spent many years being a scientist of middling talent in several labs that she absolutely did not blow up—except for that one time and everyone agreed not to talk about that any more.
Now she divides her time between writing fiction and raising two kids who are wonderful but, for some reason, will not stop licking things.
Her latest book is the action/adventure/humorous/scifi, Double Blind.
For More Information
• Visit Tiffany Pitt’s website.
• Connect with Tiffany on Facebook and Twitter.