Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Winter vs. Summer in Romania


We had the pleasure of visiting Romania last winter and again this summer.  We noticed a few contrasts.  

In winter, there's plenty of fog



Christmas lights


Vin Fiert


There's a foggy monastery on an island

and a Hobbit house! 


In summer, there are flowers in the park


ornate buildings 



a sunny monastery



boating at the lake


the old and the new


It's lovely any time!


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Sun Dial Trail

Last week I received my contributor's copy of Universe Between.  It includes one of my short stories, "The Sun Dial Trail," a flippant story that speculates about sun dials in space, and…  These are such fun to write!



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Search for Dracula

Today I'm being Minta Monroe, my dark fantasy pen name, over at the Cafe, where I'm blogging about my Christmas trip to Transylvania.

Later in the week, I'll post more photos here.

Meanwhile,


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Shifting Jinn

What fun to receive my contributor's copy of Fantasy Adrift this past week!  It includes one of my short stories, "Shifting Jinn," about an eastern genie who meets voodoo in the west--specifically, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, one of my favorite spots in the Caribbean.  You can scroll through previous posts to see some of my photos from there.



Fantasy Adrift is an anthology of short stories and edited by the fabulous Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  It's available in all bookstores in all formats.  For more information from the publisher: http://www.wmgpublishinginc.com/project/fiction-river-fantasy-adrift/

Monday, May 19, 2014

May's Writerly Update


1.  Cafe Otherworld launches today!  This is a group of paranormal writers joining together to discuss the supernatural.  I am one of them, writing under my dark fantasy pen name as Minta Monroe.  Come visit us at 


Today's blog features the vampire shrink author, Lynda Hilburn.  She is including a book giveaway.  

Minta will appear there this Wednesday, May 21.  


2.  My mystery pen name, Sue Star, has joined Mysteristas, an online group discussing aspects of mystery writing.  Come visit us at 


Sue adds her thoughts on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month.  So far Sue has written about:
  • what it means to get lucky when you're a mystery writer
  • visiting the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.
  • spies on the homefront during WWII
  • what can you do, when your writing gets stuck?  


3.  Last but not least, one of my stories appears in Fiction River's May release, Fantasy Adrift.  





My story is "Shifting Jinn," by Rebecca S.W. Bates.  It's about an eastern genie in the west, fighting voodoo and crime in the Dominican Republic.  

It's been a busy and exciting month!  



Saturday, March 22, 2014


7 Reasons Why Current Novel Was Hardest to Write


The second novel in my Black Belt Mystery series is coming out this June, yay!  It will be called Murder with Altitude, by Sue Star.  It's the hardest book I've ever written so far.  Why?  

1.  It's a mystery.  

Mysteries are extra hard (at least, for me) to write.  My long-time friend Tom Schantz of The Rue Morgue once told me that mysteries are solved because of a mistake that the villain makes.  (These are my words.  He said it originally much better.)  So, that means as author I have to know what that mistake is and how it will lead to capture of the villain, which also means I have to know who are the suspects and the informants and how the trail of clues will lead the sleuth to discovery of the villain.  It's like a puzzle, and all the pieces have to work together.  Too many pieces, or the wrong pieces, make a mess.  

2.  That rascal Villain changed on me.  

Being a pantser, or writing by the seat of my pants, or writing into the dark, I write the story to discover what the story is.  Just when I thought I had it figured out, the plot and characters took off in a different direction, giving me a different villain, which meant I had to adjust the clues, and then all the threads started unraveling, which meant I had to…  

3.  Redraft.  

I redrafted 12 times.  Ugh.  This book came close to being stillborn, but I couldn't let it go.  

4.  Life Happens.  

We wouldn't have anything to write about if life didn't happen!  After 3 trips to Europe, a new granddaughter, and time being Nana, I now have at least a dozen more projects in the queue to write about, projects that have distracted me with tempting research into English history, canal boats, and Brazilian crime.  

5.  Starting and Stopping.

This is similar to being a painter and getting knocked off your ladder with a tray of paints.  You have to pick yourself up, clean up the spilled paints, and climb back on the ladder.  Now, where was I?  

6.  Other writing projects.  

While writing my 12 drafts, two other novels came out under my pen names:  The Jigsaw Window, by Cameron Kennedy, a novel that shows a family healing after Alzheimer's tears them apart; and The Mound Dwellers, by Minta Monroe, a novel about ghosts and a young woman's return to the family homestead.  I also kept up writing short stories and sold two of them.  More about those later.  

7.  Technology upgrades, learning curves, and computer crashes, dontcha love 'em??  


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reasons #4, #3, #2, and #1

Here are the last 4 reasons why I love the Caribbean (especially in winter)!

4.  Colorful buildings


Colonial zones of Cartagena and Santo Domingo






3.  Inspiration for stories and paintings


The botanical gardens in Santo Domingo were once a military encampment for Trujillo.





2.  Pirate history!






1.  Hot, hot, hot!




The new city of Cartagena