Dead and Gone by D. L. Michaels
Published: 1st May 2018
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
In a world bulit on lies, who can you ever trust? A nail-biting thriller introducing DI Annie Parker. For fans of Angela Marsons and Tess Gerritson, Dead and Gone delivers twists at every deliciously unredictable turn.
Paula Smith could have had it all. Hugely successful in her fashion business, she lives the kind of life she could never have imagined. Her world should have been an idyllic one if it weren’t for her husband Danny who is resentful of her success and increasingly prone to alcoholic rages. Paula knows she should leave him but she if she did, he would pick up the phone to the police and her life would come crashing down around her.
Sarah has found the kind of happiness with Martin she never thought possible. He is everything she could have wished for in an man. Caring, sensitive and loving, yet he has a secret that could threaten everything they share. But he is not the only one with a secret….
DI Annie Parker, mother, grandmother and widow, has plenty of baggage of her own, but she’s still determined to be the best police officer she can be. When she and her sergeant Nisha Patel hear about a 20-year-old murder that nobody knew about, nothing will stop them from tracking down the killer, even if it brings them up against one of the most dangerous crime families in the country.
The Write Stuff by D.L. Michaels
How do you go about penning a novel of around 100,000 words if you’ve never done it before?
There are dozens, maybe hundreds of pieces of advice (and books) online about how to emerge from the chrysalis of being a voracious reader into a book-writing butterfly. For what it’s worth, here’s a snapshot of rules I followed (and sometimes broke).
Tip 1. If you only write 300 words a day (about a page of a published novel), you’ll write 2,100 words a week, 8,400 a month, and will hit 100,800 over a year. Do 600 a day and you have your novel in six months. It’s that easy. No, really, it is that easy!
Most writers write because they have the urge to. Like runners, they just have to get out there and do it. So, I suppose a book is a writer’s marathon. It’s a big haul. But anyone can do it. There’s no magic to it. No singular style. No right or wrong way. It’s simply about putting one word down after the other, just like one foot after the other. Your style is your style. You might be a literary pronator or supinator. You might roll this way or that. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong – it just means it’s you!
Tip 2. You can write any time you feel like it, and you DO have the time.
I used to convince myself that I didn’t have time to write. There was so much going on in my life – full-time job, family spread across the country, friends to see, plus an effort to stay reasonably fit. Then I realized how much travelling I did on trains, planes and in the passenger seats of cars or back of taxis. So, I wrote while in transit. Instead of reading or watching movies, I flipped open the laptop and did my words. Next, I cut down on some of the awful TV I simply vegged out in front of. Then, I found that when I woke in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, I could get up and write for an hour (or so) and afterward feel satisfied that I’d actually done something with that ‘dead’ time when I just lay there trying to get back to sleep. The hours are there. You just have to hunt them down.
Tip 3. You don’t need to know all your characters and all your plot before you start writing.
One international best-selling author told me that she only ever knows her lead character and ‘the main twist’ when she starts writing. The twist could be something as simple as say a first time (serial) killer confessing a murder to his brother who is a Catholic priest. The priest will be excommunicated if he breaks the sanctity of the Confessional – but he fears more lives will be lost if he doesn’t. The brother fears the priest may go to the cops and thinks about killing him. There you have two characters and a plot (a dose of jeopardy always helps). That would be enough for my writer friend to start her thriller. But not for me. I’m a major planner (it’s probably due to my years of making TV programmes). I need the comfort of knowing my beginning, middle and end – plus at least four characters and their roles in the action, before I even start! I make a grid (on a whiteboard and on paper) and I split my 100,000 words into blocks – 20 x 5,000. Again, to use the running analogy, I do this because I know I can ‘run’ 5k easily enough, but I’m not confident of how I’d perform over 50k without lots of supporting notes. That said, I sometimes stray up to 10k, and new characters simply spring out of the writing and introduce themselves (one of the most exciting parts of storytelling). By the way, there’s a lot of software packages out there that can help with plotting and character profiles, etc.
Tip 4. Don’t start copy editing until you’ve finished the entire story.
Let’s say you write 300 words a day. On day 2, you’ll most likely re-read your first page. You’ll spot spelling/grammar mistakes and possibly some phrasing you want to improve. I suggest you don’t. Ignore them. Just plough on. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a cycle of rewriting that will destroy your determination to finish. Imagine running the 20th mile of your marathon (what runners call The Wall) and then feeling so unhappy with your mile time, that you go back and do that mile again. You’ll never finish your marathon. Resist major revision until you reach the end of your story. And even then, give yourself a break of a few days (a week or two, if possible) then when you’ve seen everything in context, and only then, start your re-write and corrections.
Tip 5. Get yourself an agent.
Aside from expert advice, impartial criticism (you won’t get it and shouldn’t seek it from family), agents understand the industry. They know where to take your book and who is most likely to publish it. Search the Writers and Artists Yearbook for the right agent for your genre and be absolutely sure you’ve written the very best draft before you submit it to them.
Oh, and if you get this far, remember that everyone, even the JK Rowlings of this world get rejected by publishers. Publication doesn’t matter. You’ve run your own literary marathon in your own style and in your own time. That makes you a champion!
About the Author
D.L. Michaels is a former award-winning TV executive, who married in Tuscany, has one teenage son and lives on an old converted farm in the Peak District. Favourite writers include Harlan Coben, Patricia Cornwell and Nicci French.
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