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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Planning the Next Book; 5 Questions I Ask Before I Start Writing!

“You should employ your little grey cells”

Agatha Christie

Midway through 2022, guess what I'm up to? I've officially started the folder for Veronica's Books, 2023! At this time, three books are planned (with a possible 4th I'm noodling around on), Knocking lots of wood, next year I'll be releasing book 8 in My American Almost Royal Cousin Series, book 4 in The Haunted Series w/ Bibiana Krall; and book 3 in my Hygge & Bisous Holiday Mysteries series! #IndieAuthorBliss

The titles for the books are set and I've begun the outlining process for the tales. Two of the book covers are in the mockup stage too--having a cover truly inspires my writing--a lesson I learned in spades this past year. Sounds easy enough, I'm ready to write now, right? Wrong.

Here are 5 questions I go through to help me prioritize the to-dos and research that needs to be done before I start writing. #Check

1) #InspirationResearch, am I really, truly, really inspired? I'm always on the lookout to see and experience new things to fuel the little gray cells for story inspiration. The search is kind of like panning for gold, with loads of ideas sifting through the strainer. Though it may take a while (watch out for those shifting sands that swallow up valuable time), I'm looking for the nuggets that finally shine through, and stick. #Eureka

2)What areas of the story concept do I know nothing about? Locations, vocations, historical details, recipes (including cocktails---some things will never change at Cherrywood Hall 😁🍸) architecture, protocols (oh, those royals!), folklore, science (I am definitely going to have a poison garden one day)... There's always something new to learn.

Before I started my cozy series, I knew very little about titles, British manors, the acting profession, or film production. This is one of my favorite aspects of the writing process--I love doing the research, traveling when I can, and learning about new topics. For book eight in my cozy series, I'm entering the world of haute couture--devious designers, scheming models, jealousy on the runway--what can possibly go wrong? 💋👠

3)Who are these characters? Character development is always fun for me too. I enjoy sorting through the mental and physical attributes of my literary friends, their background, eccentricities, personalities, names, what role will they play in the story. I like understanding what makes a character tick!

One resource I've really enjoyed learning from this year is The Body Language Guy, Jesus Enrique Rosas--human behavior explorer! I follow him on Twitter (@Knesix) and always enjoy watching his YouTube channels where he analyzes people and their behavior. He now has two channels--one for the royals (oh my, delicious, guilty pleasure tea for those of us with enquiring minds) and one for celebrities/current events (his analysis of the Heard/Depp trial was spot on). He's amassed a huge following and I love getting his insights on analyzing a person's behavior, reactions, and the tells to watch for to see if one is being truthful, or maybe not so much... It's a great resource to explore to add depth to the characters, and he's extremely entertaining! #HighlyRecommended

4)Where do I go to research the gap areas? The internet is still my best friend. I've found I'm more of a visual person when it comes to researching and learning about new topics. Pinterest and YouTube are my top resources, followed by topic blogs/vlogs (ask the experts questions!), and to some extent, social media apps (Twitter, Clubhouse, Instagram). If I can travel to a storyline location, even better!

5) The Schedule, When Do Things Need to be Done? Twelve months filled with research, writing, editing, designing, marketing--get that calendar out and penciled in! Luckily these days, I have experience and lessons learned to help me with this task; and have a better estimate of how long it will take to get each book on the road to release.

Be sure and allocate time to have fun too, and be prepared for events that might derail your plans for a time (ie global pandemics, WWIII, alien invasions, etc...). I'm trying to be kinder to myself these days if a schedule needs to be adjusted... #SipHappens

Best to all the writers who are scoping out their next adventures foe 2023--I can't wait to read what you write! If you have resources, tips, and tricks that work for you, I'd love to hear about them! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

It's another #FridayNighFright debut!

This week Bibiana's Wicked Mist tale, Ningyo, made its global premiere! This haunting tale is one of my favorites in the collection, it will truly give you goosebumps... #Eek Join us on Friday evening for another story trailer reveal on YouTube! 💀🌹

Join us this Sunday at 4 PM EDT for #MurdersWeWrite!

Authors Cynthia Raleigh, Amy Reade, Bibiana Krall, and moi will be discussing Capers & Characters; Bungling Criminal or Mastermind this week in the #MwW room on the Clubhouse app! The Caper is a sub-genre of mystery, closely tied to cozy. It's always about the story, but often in this case the characters take over. Let's chat tropes, traits, locations, and masterminds!

Family secrets lead to murder this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Helena Dixon, Murder at the Dolphin Hotel, A Miss Underhay Mystery, 5

Mysterious deaths, family secrets, and break-ins keep hotelier, Kitty Underhay and her new security officer, Matthew Bryant on the hunt to find out who is responsible for the latest swarm of crimes plaguing their resort town. Her grandmother is afraid her granddaughter may be targeted for foul play. Will her concerns become a reality?

As Kitty and Matthew investigate numerous leads, they uncover details about the tragic disappearance of her mother. Are the current events connected to her vanishing years before? Will Kitty and Matthew find out what is driving the deadly mayhem before the killer strikes again?

Author Dixon weaves a clever whodunnit revealing buried secrets and greedy actions that lead to a violent quest for a missing gem. The main characters and their personal dilemmas will tug at your heart. A page turning tale sure to delight cozy mystery fans--I'm looking forward to reading the next books of this delightful series!

Next up in the reading queue:

A very #HappyBirthday to my OH!

This past weekend we had the pleasure of celebrating Bruce's birthday! We had a yummy lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my SIL and her family on Saturday (coconut cream cheesecake, O-M-G) and a dinner under the stars on Sunday. Good times had by all--here's to a wonderful new year filled with adventure and fun! 💕🎂

Welcome to my world. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Stay tuned for next week's post--a far-out chat with a fav author! Gemma and Rikkhe approve! 💖👑

*Picture courtesy of the James Webb telescope via @NASA_Marshall on Twitter

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Jul 20, 2022

Wishing your OH a very happy birthday and wow on the planning! It’s a vision quest and so cool to have these great projects to look forward to! ❤️The breakdown of your writing formula! Yes!!!

Congrats to the authors mentioned! Just finished ‘Savannah in Daylight’ and was so delighted with the imagery of a place I will always love! Cannot wait to watch the next trailer for WickEd Mist and have some fun chatting with the mystery crew on Clubhouse this Sunday! Your blog rocks!

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for the kind comments, Bibiana--it's never too early to start planning the next projects! Cathy's new book is so awesome--we need to have a writer's retreat in your amazing town soon! See you Friday for the next Wicked Mist reveal! xo 💖👑


Jul 20, 2022

Great info & thoughts! You should write a book about planning your writing year. What you shared is so essential and invigorating. Well done- enjoy some more coconut cream cheesecake!

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Jul 20, 2022
Replying to

Many thanks, Jena--I think I'll be sticking to the mysteries for now, LOL. Holy moly, the coconut creme was #yummo! Enjoy your week, xo 💖👑

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