Autumn 2020 Newsletter

Posted Sat, 10/24/20

Being a writer has its ups and downs. Whether you're an amateur or a published author, the process of writing a book can be excruciating, peppered with bits of relief and elation. There are times it all feels like an emotional rollercoaster. Those who are near and dear to us can also feel the impact of the long process on a daily basis.

Thus begins my autumn newsletter, which is now available online, and also as a PDF download.

Here are some highlights from the newsletter: 

Deborah O'Toole: Newsletter (Autumn, October 2020).

~ The Crypt Artist ~

The Crypt Artist was released by Club Lighthouse Publishing on June 6, 2020. The novel is available in multiple e-book formats from Club Lighthouse, and in both Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.

Front and back covers for "The Crypt Artist." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

What can I say about The Crypt Artist? The book was a definite labor of love for me, without a doubt. There was something about it that drove me, day after day, until the story was complete. I was enchanted with all of the characters that I developed over time, my two favorites becoming Irish poet Malachy O'Leary and the indomitable Howard Russell Baker. The verbal exchanges between Malachy and Howard had me laughing out loud on several occasions, even in the quiet and solitary world of creation. The fact that Malachy and Howard are both ghosts made their well-aimed barbs all the more deliciously comical.

A reader on Amazon wrote the following about The Crypt Artist:

The Crypt Artist grabbed me from the first page. I felt for struggling, depressed, and drunk Luca despite of his attitude or maybe because of it. Luca lives in a ramshackle old building where he reproduces classic paintings. A loner, the only interest he has in his neighbors is in room 2E where no one has resided since the 1950s. Why? Then his world is turned upside down when psychologist Izzy moves in next door. Both are immediately smitten with each other. Add to that a lonely elderly lady Elva Peabody and a plethora of ghosts who have devoted themselves to helping Luca. Why? Maybe a kindred spirit. The ghosts whom Luca thinks is a figment of his drunken imagination makes his paintings come alive. Enter still the landlord and his brethren who complicate his life all the more. Despite all this, the book is a quick and very enjoyable read.

~ The Bloodline Trilogy ~

I began writing the Bloodline Trilogy (as Deidre Dalton) in 2012. The first book in the series, Bloodfrost, was essentially completed six months later but wasn't published until December 2019. I shelved the trilogy for quite awhile after Bloodfrost was finished, not certain if anyone would be interested in reading about three women with special powers that spread out over three books. However, I finally convinced myself it was worth a shot and submitted Bloodfrost to my publisher, Club Lighthouse Publishing.

The Bloodline Trilogy by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton.

I began work on book two in the trilogy, Bloodlust, in late 2013. However, because of prior commitments to finish the Collective Obsessions Saga, as well as four other stand-alone novels (Celtic Remnants, Glinhaven, Mind Sweeper and The Crypt Artist), Bloodlust sat on the backburner for nearly seven years.

It wasn't until January 2020 that I was able to resume work on the second novel in the Bloodline Trilogy. To that end, I finally completed Bloodlust nine months later (on September 30, 2020 at 12:20pm, to be exact). After my own editing process, which took me to the end of October 2020, I sent the manuscript to my publisher. I was then flattered and humbled that Club Lighthouse offered me a publishing contract soon thereafter. As I've said many times before, I never take being published for granted.

For the publisher's edit of Bloodlust, I will again be working with Palvi Sharma (who also edited Bloodfrost), which I'm very happy about. Bloodlust is tentatively scheduled for release in spring 2021.

Bloodlust was 428 pages long upon completion, prior to my first round of editing, which entailed reading through the entire book several times before I even sent it to my publisher for consideration. It ended up increasing in size (to 432 pages) after the editing process, despite having done away with two incidental characters. I'm not complaining, but it's a lot of material to read through to make sure all aspects are consistent and in sync with the storyline (scenes, dialogue, location and objects, along with the physical appearances and quirks of the characters).

It's just one of the many facets of writing that I continue to find fascinating, all of which contain the aspiration to reach an end result.

~ Lockdown Activities ~

As the interminable lockdown continues, and when I take a rare break from writing, we devise ways to keep ourselves entertained.

We went on another camping trip last July, spending five days at Wolf Creek Pass in the Uinta Mountains. We found the perfect spot to camp, just off the road and down a slight incline. It had its own fire pit and plenty of trees to provide shade. We also had a stampede of sheep run through our camp, which I managed to get on film.

And guess what I pack first for a camping trip? My "book bag." It includes pens, paper clips, sticky notes, spiral notebooks, printed material from the current book I'm writing, research notes, my iPad and the current book I'm reading (not writing). We recently invested in a laptop, so it comes along for the ride as well.

My travelling "book bag." Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Reading is an ongoing activity for me, and always has been. My current stack contains And Furthermore by Dame Judi Dench, A Breath of Snow & Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (#8 in the Outlander series), Inside the Tudor Court Through the Eyes of the Spanish Ambassador by Lauren Mackay, The Pawful Truth (#11 Cat in the Stacks Mystery) by Miranda James, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, and Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. I never leave a bookstore empty-handed, and I'm especially partial to collecting different bookmarks.

My array of bookmarks. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

In addition, a family of ducks began visiting us during the summer of 2020. The mother is an albino who had six ducklings at the time, all of them seemingly ravenous at all hours. Bread was their favorite, of course, but we started feeding them healthier fare, such as kibble and dried corn. But they do love their bread! Postscript (10/09/20): The family of six ducks has now turned into about sixty daily visitors. Apparently, they spread the word about our "Duck Diner" along the canal. They come at 7am sharp, and then again during the afternoons and early evenings. Click here to view a short video of the ducks on You Tube.

Debby's Duck Diner. Click on image to view video on You Tube.

I recently created a page at All Author, which is basically a social platform for published authors. Last week they offered-up banners for the Halloween season, so I decided to use the following for three of my "spookier" books (Bloodfrost, Glinhaven and The Crypt Artist).

Deborah O'Toole @ All Author.

~ Until Next Time ~

Another newsletter will be coming in late spring/early summer 2021.

And until next time, happy reading . . .

Irish Eyes: The Crypt Artist

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Book Promotions; The Crypt Artist

Duckie Love

Posted Fri, 10/23/20

I would have never imagined becoming enthralled with wild ducks before last spring/summer. However, that is exactly what happened.

We started off feeding one mama albino duck and her six babies. At first, we fed them bread and then it became kernel corn purchased at a local feed store. Then the numbers increased, until by the end of summer we were tossing food to nearly sixty ducks in the backyard and on the banks of the canal.

Mamacita duck and her babies.    Mamacita duck and her babies.

Our daily duck visitors.

I became fascinated with them - the way they walk (waddle), make noise (chattering and loud quacks that sounded like laughter). They are beautiful creatures. I became especially attached to the mama duck, whom I refer to as "Mamacita." She is one tough bird, fiercely protecting her babies and taking on other ducks if they came to close to her brood. 

Since the ducks have now flown south for the winter, I'm boning-up on all things duck in anticipation of their return.

"Mallard Ducks as Pets. The Mallard Duck Owner's Manual"

I even bought two stuffed animal duckies to keep me company all winter long. The smaller one has a delightful quack when squeezed. Jerry calls the big one R.D. (as in "roast duck"). I was not amused!

My stuffed animal duckies. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I can't wait to see the real ones again. :)

Blog Tags: Photos & Other Images

Tags: Photos & Other Images

Voting Through the Mail

Posted Fri, 10/16/20

I absolutely love that we can now cast our ballots through the mail. The two things that always deterred me from voting in person in the past were the long lines and endless waiting. I just don't have the patience for it.

Casting my ballot through the mail. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I'm a registered Democrat, and have never tried to hide the fact. Actually, I'm proud of it.

Voting this year is more important than ever. We need to get  the current occupant of the White House out of office before he does irreversible damage in all directions.

Get out and vote, please!

Blog Tags: Photos & Other Images

Tags: Photos & Other Images; Politics

Far Distant Past

Posted Mon, 10/12/20

A "memory" recently popped-up on my Facebook page, showing a glimpse from my senior high school yearbook.

Page from the yearbook of my senior year at Wooster High School in Reno, Nevada. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

I attended Wooster High School in Reno, Nevada. I remember we had to get up early on a Saturday for the photo session. All the girls had to wear a frilly top-half faux thing for the picture, so I was extremely unhappy.

I've never been able to hide my mood very well, especially in facial expressions.

Blog Tags: Photos & Other Images

Tags: Photos & Other Images

Bloodline Symbolism

Posted Sun, 10/11/20

I keep track of the many "symbols" in the Bloodline Trilogy in a separate document, which will never be seen by anyone but me until all three books in the trilogy are complete.

Here's a snapshot of one of the symbols from the upcoming Bloodlust.

Symbolism in The Bloodline Trilogy (by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

It's known as a "Skull Sphere" for my fictional purposes.

A snippet from Chapter Twenty-Four of Bloodlust:

Noel found herself inside the Lester house, down in the same basement she had visited before. She was alone in the small room through the alcove, standing in semi-darkness. The wall in front of her, where she knew the drop-down bed to be located, suddenly started to bubble. It appeared similar to a pot of stew that had started to come to a boil, the surface in liquid motion as elements roiled together like a continuous somersault. Then shapes began to emerge from the churning mass, their outlines becoming clearer as they pushed forward.

Her eyes grew wide with terror as she realized what was materializing in front of her. The wall had turned into an array of skulls, each one pushing through as if fighting against thick, clear plastic. Some of the skulls had candles melted to the crown, the red wax dripping down the sides like trickling blood drops. They were protruding farther into the room, getting closer to her as she let out a long, continuous scream. She had nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, as they advanced on her with agonizing slowness.

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Writing & Editing

Editing "Bloodlust"

Posted Tue, 10/06/20

I've finished tidying the manuscript for Bloodlust (formatting, moving parts around, typos at-a-glance). Editing is the next step, which includes printing off all 428 pages so I can read through it several times before sending it to my publisher for consideration.

Editing is my least favorite part of writing, but it's unavoidable.

TOC for "Bloodlust" (by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

As I was in the middle of editing Bloodlust, Hissy decided to drop by.

Hissy dropped by during the edit for "Bloodlust" (by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Writing & Editing

And It's Complete!

Posted Wed, 09/30/20

A last bit of research today (my browsing history is beyond weird, but it's 99% for the sake of fiction), and voila! Bloodlust is now finally complete.

Addition/subtraction notes for "Bloodlust" (by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton). Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

Bloodlust was finished on September 30, 2020 at 12:20pm.

Finished "Bloodlust" (by Deborah O'Toole writing as Deidre Dalton) complete. Click on image to view larger size in a new window.

And now it's on to the editing . . .

Irish Eyes: The Bloodline Trilogy

Tags: Bloodline Trilogy; Writing & Editing

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