NaNoWriMo Eve (a.k.a. Halloween)


The witching hour approaches, and novel writers around the globe prepare to immerse themselves in a Herculean effort to produce a novel in a single month.

That’s the idea, anyway. National Novel Writing Month approaches. It sneaks up on unsuspecting writers, who have a lofty goal of writing a rough draft of a 50,000 word book in 30 days. I have joined in, and hope to produce the sequel to my first published work, which was a novella entitled Return from Armageddon. I have a working title (Resurrection in Reverse), a sketchy outline, and a determination to finish what I envisioned over 20 years ago. It’s time.

NaNoWriMo is not the only thing going on in my life right now. In fact, this week is filled with what I like to call “writing stuff,” which is a highly technical term for what I love to do.

I still need to finish the edits, formatting and cover for Send in the Drones, the next Emily Trace Mystery. I’m excited about this one, and I hope Emily Trace fans will be, too.

Wednesday, I meet with fellow Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers officer and dear friend, Beth Camp. We have been working on SASP’s first anthology, Celebrating Spokane Authors, and hope to iron out the little glitches we found in the proof copies, get the final cover and pages to the printer, Gray Dog Press, and have it ready to go within the week. Then we get to present the book at the SASP meeting this Thursday, November 2, take pre-orders, and plan a launch party. We couldn’t have done the project without lots of help from our fellow officers and members. I’ll announce the release date and party soon.

Then there is the SASP meeting itself. Dave McChesney and I, at the request of some of our members, will present a tutorial on creating and using Facebook and Twitter to market books and promote yourself as an author. SASP meets the first Thursday of each month at the Golden Corral buffet restaurant on North Division Street in Spokane, Washington. We gather at 2:00 p.m., and the program begins at 2:30. Come join us!

Along with a few other writer friends, I have the privilege of having one of my short stories selected for the Spokane County Library District’s anthology Spokane Writes. The Spokesman-Review will print a story, written by freelancer Tyler Wilson, on Friday, November 3. Tyler did a phone interview with me (and others who are in the anthology as well) on Monday. The release party for Spokane Writes will be Saturday, November 4, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the North Spokane branch on Hawthorne Road, just east of Division. I will be there, and I understand all the other authors appearing in Spokane Writes will be there as well. For further information, follow this link: 75th Anniversary and Anthology Release Party

Stay tuned for more events, progress on NaNoWriMo, release parties for Send in the Drones and Celebrating Spokane Authors, and upcoming book signings in the Spokane area. You may also visit SASP’s website at

Posted in Coming soon, Events, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, Sue Eller, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

So You Want to Write a Book

I got a wonderful email from someone who desires to write a book. I will leave out the details of her letter, but it prompted me to write a reply I’d like to share with all writers and aspiring writers. Here it is:

Dear (put your name here):

Thank you for your lovely letter. I am always pleased to meet writers and aspiring writers.

There are several things you can do, if you want to write a book (or two or more). I will try to summarize, but the journey for each person is their own.

First of all, write. There is a wonderful, free event beginning November 1. It is called NaNoWriMo. Funny name, but it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the idea is to write as much as you can for the 30-day month of November. I am sending you the link to their site, and I encourage you to participate. Http://

The event has participants from all over the world, and there is a chapter right here in Spokane, Washington. You can have a writing buddy or buddies if you wish, attend local “write-ins” or just sit down every day and write about 1,700 words. Don’t worry about the editing at this point, or even the flow of your story. Just write. The goal is to produce a 50,000 word novel rough draft. The best thing about NaNoWriMo is that you are accountable to no one except yourself. If you’ve put off getting started, it’s a good way to kick yourself into gear.

Second, I would urge you to attend a local writers’ meeting such as Spokane Authors. We meet the first Thursday of the month at 2:00 p.m. at the Golden Corral on North Division. If you work during the day and are unable to attend, there is a group which meets the third Wednesday of the month at Frankie Doodle’s Restaurant on Third and Division at 6:00 p.m. Both these groups have been around for a while, and I attend both meetings whenever I can. The advantages are that you become more connected with Spokane’s writing community, and you will meet some of Spokane’s authors and aspiring authors.

Third, find a critique group. There are many in Spokane. Not all of them will fit your personality and writing style, but if you try out several, you will find one that will nurture and help you in your writing journey. Critique groups are generally smaller than the two groups I mentioned above. They also usually meet more often, and take turns reading from their works in progress. The one I belong to meets twice a month, and we print out copies of what we will read, so that everyone can write their comments down. That’s not necessary, but it is helpful. I also meet with  a couple of writer friends and go even more in detail into whatever project I’m involved in at the moment.

Finally, never give up! 😊 You have a story within you. Let it come out. Who knows? The world may end up a better place because you chose to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Good luck, and thank you for your wonderful email. Because of it, I wrote something I can share in our newsletter and in my blog. You see, you have already had a positive effect on the world.

Write On!

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I Love Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year, and has been for as long as I can remember. The smell of harvested grain pours from the hopper of the combine into the waiting truck, the aroma of freshly cut grass mingles with falling leaves, apples blush red after the first frost, and  carved pumpkins sit like sentinels on neighbors’ porches. Children settle in to school and look forward to Halloween.

Ah, yes. Halloween. The month of October provides a few special treats in my little corner of the writing world. First of all, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers will release its first anthology. All of us have worked hard to submit our stories and poems, fine-tune them, and put them together in a book. Celebrating Spokane Authors: Readings in Prose and Poetry is scheduled for release by the end of this month. One of my short stories will be included in the collection, which will be available on Amazon and Kindle, and hopefully at some of Spokane’s local bookstores.

Several SASP members will feature their books at the Mount Spokane High School Craft Fair this weekend. Located at 6015 East Mt. Spokane Park Drive, a mile east of Highway 2 and near the Green Bluff Apple Festival, the fair runs all day Saturday and from 11-4 Sunday, Oct. 14-15. Esther Hildahl and Joyce Caudel will be there both days, Kate Poitevin will join them Satuday, and I’ll be there Sunday.

Also this weekend, Larry Danek and I will do a book signing at Book Traders, located at 907 West Garland Avenue in Spokane, as part of the Artspiration event. Drop by and see us between 10-5 Saturday, Oct. 14.

More good news and activities to come.

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Fall Festivities

Hello again, everyone. The hot weather and most of the smoke in the air have both dissipated here in the Pacific Northwest, so I changed my banner photo back to its previous version. We have had some days of cooler temperatures and rain, which are both most welcome. In our little corner of the world, fall has fallen with a resounding thud. I’m not sorry to see summer go this year.

My heart grieves for the suffering in other parts of the country, the continent, and beyond. Earthquakes and hurricanes have taken heavy tolls, and the woes of the world are more real to us than they were to our parents and grandparents, because we know more about what’s going on all over the planet than any generation before us.

We have also been able to witness — either in person or via the news media and the internet — the total eclipse of the sun. Thanks to NASA, pictures of Cassini as it plummeted toward Saturn’s surface are still popping up every time I open my web browser. Thus we have expanded our sphere of knowledge and experience outward to include our little corner of the universe.

What does this all mean? Each of us must find our own raison d’être, our purpose in life. If I had to choose only one, it would be to demonstrate unconditional love. Will you share yours in the Leave a Reply box below?



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Helter Swelter

Hello, everyone. This time I’ve changed the banner photo to reflect the relentless heat in the Pacific Northwest. Eastern Washington has set records of scorching high temperatures and days without precipitation. August, which is usually our summer’s hottest month, is only a few days old. We will get through the extra-hot summer. And don’t forget: winter, in all its icy glory, will be upon us before we know it.

The next Emily Trace mystery has been slow in development, but I believe it will be worth it. The title is Send in the Drones, and Emily and her intrepid crew will have to work especially hard to figure out the mystery of the disappearing drone.

In anticipation of its release, I’d like to let you in on a little secret from Send in the Drones. Don’t worry. I don’t believe it will in any way spoil the surprises in store for you. So here it is, folks:

Everything you ever wanted to know about Drone Wars
(well, almost everything)

“A small town airport is scheduled to play host to a new event during their annual town celebration. Drone Wars will be held for the first time Saturday afternoon on the tarmac,” the local weekly newspaper announced. Emily Trace planned to attend, and several of her staff signed up to participate.

I came up with the concept of Drone Wars as I crafted the latest Emily Trace adventure. I was inspired by the dogfights of the World War I flying aces and their battles with the Red Baron, plus the interstellar battles in Star Wars and The Last Starfighter. I thought it would be cool to have the miniature planes duke it out with lasers, totally under the control of their remote pilots.

After research on the concept, I discovered that laser weapons, which are not even used in laser tag and similar games,  posed hazards to humans which were unacceptable. I decided to have the little planes fire infrared lights instead. Much safer. Plus special effects could be added to really put on a show. Those concepts were inspired by the Lazer Tag people.

In Emily’s world, drones are equipped for competition with stick-on patches sensitive to infrared light on the frequency of special weapons, which are also installed on the little mini-planes for the competition. Whenever a drone takes a hit, five points are awarded to its opponent electronically. The dogfight continues until one drone scores 250 points, or until the main target patch suffers a fatal hit.

The main target is a small patch  located in a strategic, difficult to hit position on the drone. Once the opponent hits the tiny target, connected sensors will emit smoke and simulate sparks. They will also disable the connection with the remote control,  and the drone will automatically land and lose the match.

To find out more on Drone Wars, the first recorded Drone War in Emily Trace history, and the results of the match, stay tuned here, on Twitter (@sueeller), or on my Facebook page (follow the link on this page) for the release of Send in the Drones – an Emily Trace Mystery.

Until the next time, stay cool wherever you are, and practice flying.

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How to make really good gluten free banana bread

Hello, everyone. This time I have a special treat. (Pun intended this time, too.) A friend of mine took a video of me making gluten free banana bread in my kitchen (on location, as they say). He added a few extras and voila! an educational video, which is now live on YouTube. Here’s the link:

I hope you enjoy the video, as well as the yummy banana bread you can make using these instructions. I used a recipe my mom and grandma both used, and tweaked it to make it gluten free. It’s in my cookbook “The Gluten Free Gourmand,” along with other recipes I’ve  adapted. Also included in the cookbook are recipes which are naturally without gluten, like salads and vegetables.

The Gluten Free Gourmand is available at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, and online at Amazon, Kindle, and Smashwords.

A huge thank you to Curt Rein, freelance videographer extraordinaire. His favorite venue is local live music. Check out his YouTube page using the link below::

Curt Rein

Until the next time, live long and prosper.


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Hello everyone. It’s been a long winter (as the song says), but we persevered. My NaNoWriMo project got interrupted midway through the month by the worst windstorm Spokane has seen in many long years. We were without power for a while, and part of our fence blew over. We were among the more fortunate. People throughout the area experienced trees falling on their fences, their houses,  their cars, and nearby power lines. Spokane public schools were closed, and many businesses as well. In the true Spokane spirit, neighbors and friends helped and looked out for each other.

In spite of all the chaos, I did manage over 30,000 words for the month. Now I am editing and finishing up the story to get ready for publication. Send in the Drones, the next Emily Trace Mystery, will be released sometime this year. I’m hoping for sooner than later. I’ll keep you posted.

I have also starred in a video promoting my little cookbook, The Gluten Free Gourmand. It was fun to do, and I’m pleased with the result. You can find it on YouTube. Click on the link and check it out. Many thanks to Curt Rein for filming and editing. I will have to pay in banana bread every week for the next twelve years.

My friend and fellow author Kate Poitevin and I will be doing two book signings in the next two weeks. Check out the Events page on this site for details.

Hope your valentine was especially sweet to you, and that you have a rousing St. Patrick’s Day. May the luck of the Irish be with you.


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November Events


I just finished the first week of National Novel Writing Month, wherein writers are challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November. This is the first year I’ve participated, and I must say it has been a learning experience.

First of all, I learned that I can write more than I realized. It doesn’t take an 8-hour day to write 1,667 words. That’s the word count necessary to do every day in order to reach the 50,000 word goal of NaNoWriMo. In fact, I’ve done most days in a couple of hours. I’m a little bit behind the recommended amount, but I’m close enough that I can boost the average if needed. As of the end of the day on November 7th, I had logged 10,045 words.

Second, I learned that writing every day around a busy schedule is not as impossible as I thought it would be. Granted, I’ve done quite a bit of research, but not enough to warrant taking 10 months to write 15,000 words, which I did this year.

Third, I learned that I don’t need to neglect my family, my friends, my other life obligations and activities, my personal hygiene, or my need for sustenance (other than caffeine).

Finally, the experience of participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has been liberating. It has taught me that yes, I am now a real author and I like the lifestyle.

I’ll post again at least at the end of November, so I can let you know how I did at the finish line. 50K or not 50K – that is the question. In the meantime, I would like to invite all of you who live in the Spokane area to my book signing Saturday, November 21 from 1-3 p.m. at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., Spokane, Washington. Hope to see you there.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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A fitting tribute to a great man…Leonard Nimoy memorial, WorldCon 2015

spock trio 200

Leigh Ann Hildebrand, Ginger Buchanan, and David Gerrold share their memories of Leonard Nimoy with attendees at WorldCon 2015 Sunday, August 23 in Spokane, Washington.

A fitting tribute was given by these three to Leonard Nimoy, a man who impacted countless lives in the last half of the 20th century and on into the 21st.

David Gerrold, who knew Nimoy the longest  and enjoyed a lasting friendship with him, talked about the man behind Spock. He shared stories with us of a compassionate, caring person and how he put his own personality into his most famous role. There were times when I wondered if Gerrold would be able to continue, times when the memories of his friend nearly brought him to tears. It was an honor to listen to the stories he shared about his long-time friend.

Ginger Buchanan talked about the impact on her life of the Star Trek series and especially of Nimoy as Spock. Although she didn’t know him personally, she shared examples of how her life was different – and so much better – because of his famous character.

Leigh Ann Hildebrand showed us all the spiritual side of Leonard Nimoy. He was active in the synagogue and touched hearts and lives as a result. To end the memorial, Leigh Ann offered up a responsive reading and we had a time of silence to honor the man who will always be remembered as Spock.

In the words of James T. Kirk at Spock’s memorial in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.”

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Meadowlark Madness available on Smashwords

Meadowlark cover imageMeadowlark Madness, the first adventure of bumbling detective Emily Trace, went live on Smashwords today.

Preparing the manuscript for the more strict specifications took a couple of days and some frustration and tearing of hair.

However, the effort was well worth it. In the first four hours the book was live, it had 40 visits to its page, six downloads of the preview, and one purchase. Another plus: once I muddled through the process, I was able to prepare Taming of the T-Bird in just a few hours.

I plan to wait a few days before I upload the T-Bird manuscript. Smashwords will sell your ebook on their site, but if you want it available to places like Barnes & Noble and Apple, your book must meet more stringent requirements. If there are a few fixes to make on the Meadowlark book, I want to find out about them before I put more books up on the site.

While I was on the Smashwords site, I set up a Q&A interview and uploaded my author photo and bio. I’m still exploring the benefits and help they offer to authors (and agents and publishers, too). Check out my author page at Smashwords under authorsueeller.

I’ll share with you from time to time my experiences with this and other author-friendly sites. Until then, enjoy your today.



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