Now Write! Contributors: New Work

Now Write! contributors sure keep busy. As usual, there’s something here for everyone, including spooky scary short stories in time for Halloween from Elizabeth Eve King, a contributor to Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (Feb, 2014).

MYSTERY/THRILLERS

What A Mother KnowsWhatamotherknows
by Leslie Lehr (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Sourcebooks Landmark (May 2013)

How far will a mother go to protect her child?

An unsettling, emotional and suspenseful novel of the unshakable bonds of motherhood, in which Michelle Mason not only loses her memory after a deadly car crash, but can’t find her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day. But the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of everyone, even herself. A dramatic portrayal of the fragile skin of memory, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.

(Read Leslie’s guest blog post Wrecking Ball Revision – about writing the novel)

QuietDellQuiet Dell: A Novel (hardcover)
by Jayne Anne Phillips (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Scribner (October, 2013)

Based on a real-life multiple murder by a con man who preyed on widows — a story that has haunted the author for more than four decades.

In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, all four Eichers are dead.

One of the few women journalists in the Chicago press becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family.

goodasgoneGood as Gone
by Douglas Corleone (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books (Aug. 2013)

A former U.S. Marshal, haunted by his own daughter’s disappearance, investigates a child abduction which becomes a terrifying international chase.

Former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk works as a private contractor, tracking down and recovering children who were kidnapped by their own estranged parents. He only has one rule: he won’t touch stranger abduction cases. He’s still haunted by the disappearance of his own daughter when she was just a child, still unsolved, and stranger kidnappings hit too close to home.

Until, six-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears from her parents’ hotel room in Paris, and the French police deliver Simon an ultimatum: he can spend years in a French jail, or he can take the case and recover the missing girl.

badgirlsBad Girls (paperback, kindle and audio book)
by M. William Phelps (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Kensington Publishing Corp. (Sept. 2013)

A  tale of sexploitation, lust, and betrayal.  49-year-old Bob Dow shot execution-style in his own bed, his invalid mother locked in the next room—and a cache of homemade porn starring the town’s underage girls. The two accused killers—teen lovers Bobbi Jo Smith and Jennifer Jones—were on the run, intent on going out in a cross-country blaze of glory. Were both girls equally guilty of murder? Or was one merely a pawn in the other’s dainty, blood-stained hands?

LethalTreasureLethal Treasure: a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery
by Jane Cleland (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books (June, 2013)

Josie Prescott pursues her newest source of inventory — the contents of abandoned storage units sold at auction. A crowd gathers at the storage facility, including local Henri Dubois, who bids against a man new to the local auction scene. The larger unit won by Henri has some exciting discoveries but when Josie receives a frantic call from Henri’s wife, the next morning, she learns that Henri never made it home after the auction. Police find Henri, dead in the storage unit. Was he killed over one of the objects? Is his wife hiding secrets that led to his death? And who was the stranger who bid against Henri? When the police turn to Josie’s antiques expertise, she discovers more than provenance—she uncovers a murderer.

 

STORY COLLECTIONS

AnotherHappyEndingAnother Happy Ending
by Elizabeth Eve King (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (October, 2013)

A collection of short fiction and a novella – Funny and dark, E.E. King offers a unique perspective on life, love and the meaning of the universe. These tales will have you up all night.

blackberriesBlackberries, Blackberries
by Crystal Wilkinson (Now Write! Fiction contributor – her exercise is available as a sample here.)
AmazonEncore (November, 2011)

An enchanting, haunting collection of stories by a self-described black country girl and poet from rural Kentucky. The stories explore the joys and pain of the women of “Affrilachia”.

NurseI Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse
Edited by Lee Gutkind (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
In Fact Books; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)

This collection of true narratives reflects the dynamism and diversity of nurses, who provide the first vital line of patient care. Here, nurses remember their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths, and reflect on what gets them through long, demanding shifts, and keeps them in the profession. What connects these stories is the passion and strength of the writers, who struggle against burnout and bureaucracy to serve their patients with skill, empathy, and strength.

Youth

RiverMeet Me at the River  (hardcover and kindle)
by Nina da Gramont (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October, 2013)

We can’t choose who we love…but can we choose to let go?

Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.

Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly alone. Unable to outrun the grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.

SasquatchStreetball Crew: Sasquatch in the Paint  (hardcover)
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Disney-Hyperion (September, 2013)

Thanks to the six inches he grew recently, eighth-grader Theo has lost his invisibility. The basketball coach conscripts him, but Theo’s so uneasy in his new body that he’s uncoordinated and self-conscious on the court. He doesn’t want to quit, though, even when he’s nicknamed Sasquatch during his first game. The more he studies and practices the game, the more he loves it, but “to want to do something you weren’t good at was begging to be let down.” Meanwhile, he’s having trouble balancing other responsibilities, including the academic team that has been a huge part of his life.

Guest Post by Leslie Lehr: Wrecking Ball Revision

LEHR_Bookcover_May2013My new novel, What A Mother Knows, started out as a literary masterpiece – or so I thought. I wrote it for my thesis project when I earned my MFA. The story is about a woman who wakes up from a deadly car accident only to find she is accused of murder and her daughter, the only one who knows what happened, is gone. It was fun playing with the prose, so I devised two story lines that alternated between past and present until they met up at the end. The result was dark and angsty – I loved it. But my friends had trouble remembering the details from one storyline to the next.

images-2I put it aside to write a quick commercial novel, Wife Goes On, which I sold from the outline along with a screenplay on the same concept. But I couldn’t let go of this story, so I decided to rewrite it with a strong narrative drive to make it more exciting and more accessible to readers – a marriage of commercial and literary fiction. Ultimately, it was a detective story: this woman was desperate to find her daughter and to clear her name. She also had everything to risk, which made it a thriller. Time for the wrecking ball.

I started by smashing the story apart to make a scene list. Then I put the scenes in order. The main story had to be a present time page-turner, so I combined past scenes that had the same character having a revelation and used flashbacks only to help the character take action. By reordering, combining, and eliminating scenes, the story got stronger. Each character’s motivation was clearer, so the plot got thicker, and the revelations came faster. Boom, boom, boom! Then my agent asked me to develop the medical and legal themes, so I revised it again.

When she sold it, my new editor asked me to take out 100 pages. Of course, you can’t just lop off 100 pages of a tightly woven tale, so I went back to the wrecking ball and broke it down, scene by scene. Next, I make a list of revelations, to make sure everything was accounted for. Then I built it up again into a strong story.
It’s the same story, but better. And it’s a page-turner. Read What A Mother Knows and let me know if you find any holes. I dare you!

LEHRauthorphotoLeslie Lehr is a Now Write! Fiction contributor, and the prize-winning author of the novels What A Mother Knows66 Laps and Wife Goes On, plus three nonfiction books, including Welcome to Club Mom. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and anthologies such as Mommy Wars. She was the screenwriter of the romantic thriller, HEARTLESS and wrote Club Divorce for Lifetime TV. Leslie has a BA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, an MFA from Antioch, teaches in the world renowned Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension and works as a private manuscript consultant. For more information, go to leslielehr.com.  You can follow Leslie on Twitter and Facebook.